What is Fiber?

Fiber is a nutrient in food that helps keep your stomach and intestines healthy. Fiber comes from plants, like wheat, bran, vegetables and fruits. Fiber has many important jobs in your body. Fiber helps move food through your stomach and intestines and helps make stools easier to pass. It also helps you pass stool more regularly.

How Much Fiber Should I Eat?

The amount of fiber you should eat depends on your age. Fiber is counted in grams. See the charts below to see how many grams of fiber you should eat every day.

Male
Age Grams of Fiber Per Day
 1-3 Years 19
4-8 Years 25
9-13 Years 31
 14-18 Years 38
19-30 Years 38
31-50 Years 38
51-70 Years 30
70 and older 30
Female
Age Grams of Fiber Per Day
 1-3 Years 19
4-8 Years 25
9-13 Years 26
 14-18 Years 26
19-30 Years 25
31-50 Years 25
51-70 Years 21
70 and older 21

 

Look for foods that have 3 or more grams of fiber per serving. Fiber is also called dietary fiber.
Look for foods that have 3 or more grams of fiber per serving. Fiber is also called dietary fiber.
Image courtesy of Wikicommons.

How Can I Add Fiber to My Diet?

There are many ways you can add fiber to your diet. Make sure to add fiber into your diet slowly over the course of a few weeks. This will help you feel less bloated and gassy. See the back of this handout for a food and fiber list.

Here are some suggestions on how to add fiber to your diet:

  • Look for food that has 3 or more grams of fiber per serving. You can find this on the nutrition label.
  • Serve whole grain breads, pastas, cereals and rice. Whole grains include 100% whole wheat bread, brown rice and bran.
  • On nutrition labels, look for food that lists 100% whole wheat, rye, oats or bran as the first ingredient.
  • Serve beans as a side with meals.
  • Sprinkle chia seeds, ground flaxseed or bran on food.

Which Foods Have Enough Fiber to Help Ease Constipation?

There are many types of food with enough fiber to help ease constipation. Here are boxes that show you how much fiber is in different foods. All of the foods are made from plants, like wheat, vegetables and fruits because fiber is found only in plants.

Grains: Cereal

1 ounce of corn bran (22g)
 ½ tcup of Fiber One® bran cereal (10g) 
 1 ounce of oat bran (12g) 
 1 ounce of wheat bran (12g) 
 ½ cup of All-Bran® cereal (10g)
 1 ounce of rice bran (6g)
 ½ cup of uncooked oatmeal (4g) 
 ½ cup of Mini-Wheats® (4g)
 ½ cup of Raisin Bran® (4g)

Grains: Side Dishes

 1 cup of pearled barley (6g)
 1 cup of whole wheat spaghetti (6g)
 1 cup of quinoa (5g)
 3 cups of air-popped popcorn (4g)
 1 cup of brown rice (4g)
 1 cup of brown rice (4g)

Grains: Breads

 1 Grains: Breads 1 slice of whole wheat bread (2-3g)
 Whole wheat frozen waffles (2-3g)
 Whole wheat frozen waffles (2-3g)

Fruits

 1 cup of blackberries (8g)
 1 cup of raspberries (8g)
 1 medium pear with skin (6g)
 1 medium apple with skin (4g)
 1 cup of blueberries (4g)
 1 cup of strawberries (3g)
 ½ cup of prune puree (3g)
 4 dried figs (3g)
 1 medium orange (3g)

Vegetables

 1 cup of frozen green peas (14g)
 1 cup of cooked acorn squash (9g)
 ½ of a medium avocado (9g)
 1 cup of cooked brussel sprouts (6g)
 1 cup of frozen edamame (6g)
 1 cup of cooked cauliflower (5g)
 1 cup of cooked broccoli (5g)
 1 cup of cooked spinach (4g)
 1 medium sweet potato with skin (4g)
 1 cup of cooked zucchini squash (3g)

Beans, Nuts, and Seeds

 1 cup of navy beans (19g)
 1 cup of cooked lentils (16g)
 1 cup of kidney beans (16g)
 1 taza de fríjoles negros (15g)
 1 cup of black beans (15g)
 1 cup of garbanzo beans (12g)
 1 ounce of flaxseed (8g)
 1 ounce of almonds (4g)
 ½ cup of pumpkin seeds (4g)

What Else Can I Do to Ease My Constipation?

There are many things you can do to help ease your constipation. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Drink lots of water! Water will help your body process fiber faster.
  • Drink pear or prune juice. These juices help stool (stool) move faster through your body.
  • Exercising helps increase and regulate how often you pass stool.
  • If you take supplements, talk to your doctor to see if any of the supplements can make constipation worse. Certain supplements, like iron or calcium, can make constipation worse.

 

Rev: 1/2015

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