Fiber includes all the parts of a plant that our bodies cannot digest or absorb, and it’s a very important part of a healthy diet.
Unfortunately, nearly 95% of Americans over the age of 2 fall short of the daily recommendations for fiber intake.
Getting adequate amounts of fiber in your diet has been linked to a variety of health benefits, including:
- Maintaining bowel integrity and health
- Achieving normal, regular bowel movements
- Lowering cholesterol levels
- Helping blood sugar control
- Aiding in weight loss/maintenance
Fiber has also been tied to a reduced risk of developing heart disease, some cancers, diabetes and obesity.
How much fiber?
The amount of fiber a person needs fiber is based on their age and total daily calorie requirements. A good rule for healthy adults, established by the US Department of Agriculture, is to consume 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories eaten.
The Institute of Medicine has created a standard recommended amount (dietary reference intake) of fiber needs based on age and gender. The following chart represents desirable intake levels that have been established from the most recent scientific evidence available:
|Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) for Fiber|
Chart adapted from: Institute of Medicine Dietary Reference Intakes: Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. Washington, DC, National Academies Press, 2002.
Fiber in Fruits and Vegetables
It’s important to eat a variety of fiber-rich foods, since different types of dietary fiber have unique health-promoting properties. There are two main categories of fiber found in fruits and vegetables: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber attracts liquid and forms a thick gel in the stomach; it slows the speed of food moving through the digestive system, increasing satiety (the feeling of fullness). Insoluble fiber doesn’t attract liquids; it has more of a laxative effect. Within these two categories, emerging research is showing health benefits of specific types of soluble and insoluble fiber like lignans and inulins.
It’s best to meet your nutrient needs naturally, through foods like Earthbound Farm organic fruits and vegetables.
|Class/Component||Potential Benefit||Earthbound Farm Products*||Earthbound Farm Recipes|
|Insoluble fiber||May contribute to maintenance of a healthy digestive tract; may reduce the risk of some cancers.||Apples (peel), Beets, Bell Peppers, Berries, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Grapes, Oranges, Tomatoes||Apples, Beets, Bell Peppers, Berries, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Grapes, Oranges, Tomatoes|
|Soluble fiber**||May reduce the risk of CHD and some types of cancer; may lower blood cholesterol levels.||Apples, Berries, Carrots, Citrus, Pears, Dried Plums, Sweet Potatoes||Apples, Berries, Carrots, Dried Plums, Grapefruit, Oranges, Pears, Sweet Potatoes|
|Lignins||May contribute to maintenance of heart health and healthy immune function.||Broccoli, Strawberries||Broccoli, Strawberries|
|Prebiotic fibers [inulin, fructooligosaccharides(FOS), polydextrose, galactooligosaccharides]||May improve gastrointestinal health; some may improve calcium absorption.||Apples, Berries, Spinach, Tomatoes||Apples, Berries, Spinach, Tomatoes|
Chart adapted from the International Food Information Council Foundation Functional Foods.
*Examples are not an all-inclusive list.
**FDA-approved health claim established for this component.
The science on dietary fiber is constantly evolving. Visit the National Institutes of Health for the latest news and research on fiber.