Did your menu today include foods high in fiber, such as oatmeal for breakfast and a sandwich on whole-grain bread for lunch? It’s important to include high-fiber foods in your daily diet to support digestion.

Let’s look at why fiber is so important and learn about the most fiber-rich foods.

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Why Is It Important to Eat Foods High in Fiber?

As the American Diabetes Association (ADA) explains, fiber helps your body properly digest food.

Fiber comes in two forms — soluble and insoluble — and each has its own health benefits. Foods with soluble fiber may help lower your cholesterol. Foods with insoluble fiber help to prevent constipation, keep your bowels healthy, and deter digestive disorders such as diverticulitis.

To make sure you’re getting the recommended dose of fiber, be sure to include some of these foods in your daily diet:

  • Bran cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • Dry beans and peas
  • Barley
  • Cooked navy, yellow, and white beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Rice bran
  • Fruits and vegetables including apples (unpeeled), carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, turnips, and berries
  • Whole grains including whole wheat pasta and whole grain cereals and breads
  • Peanuts, walnuts, and almonds

How Much Fiber Should You Be Eating?

While a low-fiber diet may not be recommended for some people, the average healthy adult should consume 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day, according to the ADA. People younger than 19 should eat 14 to 25 grams each day.

Although high-fiber foods are good for your health, adding them too quickly into your diet can irritate the stomach and cause gas, cramps, and bloating. Talk to your doctor before increasing your daily fiber intake. And be sure to drink plenty of water and stay active while your digestive system adapts to the change.

To learn more about daily fiber guidelines and to ensure you’re getting enough fiber in your diet, visit the UPMC Digestive Disorders Center or call 1-866-442-7876 for an appointment.

About UPMC

A $23 billion health care provider and insurer, Pittsburgh-based UPMC is inventing new models of patient-centered, cost-effective, accountable care. The largest nongovernmental employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC integrates 92,000 employees, 40 hospitals, 700 doctors’ offices and outpatient sites, and a 4 million-member Insurance Services Division, the largest medical insurer in western Pennsylvania. In the most recent fiscal year, UPMC contributed $1.4 billion in benefits to its communities, including more care to the region’s most vulnerable citizens than any other health care institution, and paid more than $800 million in federal, state, and local taxes. Working in close collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, UPMC shares its clinical, managerial, and technological skills worldwide through its innovation and commercialization arm, UPMC Enterprises, and through UPMC International. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside among the nation’s best hospitals in many specialties and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. For more information, go to UPMC.com.