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Brochures and Helpful Information

High Fiber Diet

What is Fiber?

Fiber is the part of the plant that maintains the plant’s structure. Fiber is sometimes called roughage. Foods that come from plants have fiber. Foods that come from animals do not have fiber.

What is the Function of the Large Intestine?

The primary function of the large intestine (colon) is to remove excess water from food wastes passing through the intestine. When food passes through the system too quickly, not enough water is absorbed by the intestine and results in diarrhea. If food passes through the system too slowly, too much water is absorbed, resulting in hard stools, constipation and hemorrhoids from straining.

Why more Fiber?

Fiber provides bulk to the contents of the bowel and helps normalize bowel function. Fiber promotes the wavelike contractions that keep food moving through the intestine. A high fiber diet causes a large, soft bulky stool that passes through the bowel more quickly and makes it easier to pass. This helps with disorders such as constipation, diverticulosis and hemorrhoids. It is believed that harmful substances are swept out of the system before they may cause problems. High fiber contributes to a healthier colon.

The recommended amount of fiber intake is 20-30 grams per day.

Fiber and Cancer?

A high fiber diet itself, does not prevent colon cancer, however it does contribute to the overall health of your gastrointestinal system by keeping your bowel mobile and your stools softer.

Many high fiber foods are rich in antioxidants. These substances attack other chemicals known as free radicals. Free radicals are a natural byproduct of metabolism. Free radicals are thought to be related to heart disease, macular degeneration (eye problems) and some cancers. Many high fiber foods are rich in antioxidants, which will attack free radicals. A person can benefit from an increase in antioxidants.

What Diseases May Benefit from a High Fiber Diet?

  • Diabetes
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Macular degeneration
  • Hiatus Hernia

General Rules:

  1. Drink plenty of liquids, including water, fruit and vegetable juices.
  2. Eat slowly and chew food thoroughly.
  3. Eat meals at regular intervals.

High Fiber Foods

You can use some of the following foods to increase the amount of fiber in your diet.

  1. Whole-grain foods (such as bran cereals) and breads (those made with whole wheat grains).
  2. Fresh fruits (including the skin and pulp). Figs, prunes and raspberries have the highest fiber content.
  3. Dried or stewed fruits (such as applesauce, prunes, raisins, or apricots).
  4. Root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, turnips).
  5. Green leafy vegetables (spinach, celery and broccoli are good) (lettuce is relatively low in fiber).

Eating bran cereal for breakfast is the easiest way to obtain large amounts of fiber.

Fiber One, All-Bran, 100% Bran, Bran Buds, oat bran, oatmeal and Raisin Bran are some of the cereals with the highest fiber content.

Sudden increase in fiber can cause stomach cramping, rumbling intestines and gas. Start out slowly, increasing the amount as tolerated. One or two soft formed stools a day is normal. Some people have trouble tolerating too many high fiber foods in the diet. Stool softening and bulking agents are available over the counter. These fiber supplements, in conjunction with foods, offer an easy way to reach the fiber goal of 20 to 30 grams per day.

Avoid stimulant laxatives.

Over the Counter Fiber Supplements:

  • Metamucil
  • Citrucel
  • Equilactin
  • Generic products containing psyllium fiber.

Be sure to read product labels and compare fiber content when making food selections.

Serving Size
Food
Grams of Fiber
BREADS
1 medium Bran muffin 3
1 slice Whole wheat bread 2
1 slice White bread 1
1 slice Other breads (look at package labeling)  
4 squares Saltine crackers 0
CEREALS & PASTA
1 ounce Fiber One 14
1 ounce Kellogg's All Bran Extra Fiber 14
1 ounce Kellogg's Bran Flakes 4
1 ounce Post Fruit & Fiber 4
1.4 ounces Kellogg's Raisin Bran 4
1 ounce Nabisco Shredded Wheat'n Bran 4
1 ounce Oat bran 4
1 ounce General Mills Raisin Nut Bran 3
1 ounce General Mills Cheerios 2
1 ounce Post Grape Nuts 2
1 ounce Oatmeal 2
1 cup Popcorn 2
1 ounce General Mills Total 2
1 ounce General Mills Wheaties 2
1 cup Pasta <1
1 ounce Kellogg's Corn Flakes <1
1/2 cup Cooked brown rice <1
1/2 cup Cooked white rice <1
1/2 cup Egg noodles 0
LEGUMES
1/2 cup Kidney beans 9
1/2 cup Baked beans 7
1/2 cup Navy beans 9
1/2 cup Pinto beans 5
1/2 cup Lentils 2
VEGETABLES
1/2 cup Cooked frozen peas 4
1 medium Baked potato (with skin) 4
1/2 cup Cooked broccoli tops 3
1/2 cup Cooked young carrots 3
1/2 cup Cooked corn 3
1/2 medium Avacado 2
1/2 cup Cooked green beans 2
1/2 cup Brussels sprouts 2
1/2 cup Cooked eggplant 2
1/2 medium Cooked sweet potato 2
1/2 cup Cooked raw cabbage 2
1/2 cup Raw beans sprouts 1
1/2 cup Lettuce 1
1/2 cup Sliced raw mushrooms 1
1 medium Dill pickle 1
1/2 cup Mashed potatoes 1
10 medium French fries 1
1/2 Fresh tomato 1
1 stalk Raw celery <1
6 slices Raw cucumber <1
2 rings Green pepper <1
1/2 cup Raw onions <1
FRUITS & NUTS
3.5 ounces Dried figs 18
3.5 ounces Prunes 8
3.5 ounces Raspberries 7
1/4 cup Almonds 5
1 medium Apple (with skin) 3
1 medium Banana 3
1/2 cup Blackberries 3
5 Dried dates 3
1 medium Nectarine 3
1 medium Peach (with skin) 3
1/4 cup Roasted peanuts 3
1 cup Strawberries 3
1 medium Pear (with skin) 2
1/4 cup Cantaloupe 2
10 medium Olives 2
1 medium Orange 2
2 T Peanut butter (smooth) 2
1 medium Tangerine 2
1/4 cup Walnut pieces 2
1 medium Apricot 1
10 large Cherries 1
1/2 medium Grapefruit 1
1/2 cup Pineapple 1
2 T Raisins 1
2 medium Plums <1
1/2 cup Orange juice 0
     

Your colon will thank you.

 

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