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Dietary fiber is the indigestible portion of plant foods and an important nutrient for health. Most Americans consume less fiber than their body requires for optimal function. A low fiber diet contributes to constipation, bowel irregularity, and bowel diseases like colon cancer. Low fiber diets have caused Americans to become big consumers of laxative and stool softening agents. Most of these agents would not be needed if people added more fiber to their diets.

The recommended intake of dietary fiber is 25 to 30 grams per day. The average American adult consumes only 10 to 12 grams of fiber each day. Many consume a diet high in animal and processed foods that contain little or no fiber.

High fiber diets not only promote bowel regularity, they also reduce our risk of breast and colon cancer. Fiber also helps to reduce cholesterol and blood glucose levels.

Some intestinal disorders require low fiber diets during acute flare-ups. These include:
intestinal inflammation
Crohn's disease
For these disorders, a low fiber diet is followed only for a short time as advised by a healthcare provider. A high fiber diet is normally resumed once the acute symptoms have subsided.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of fiber as are whole grain breads, cereals, brown rice, and beans.

Amount of fiber in some foods
Food Portion Fiber
Apple, raw 1 medium 3.3 grams
Peach, raw 1 medium 1.5 grams
Orange 1 small 2.9 grams
Mango 1/2 small 2.9 grams
Pear, raw 1 medium 5.1 grams
Fig, dried 1 medium 2.4 grams
Prunes, raw 2 medium 2.0 grams
Rasberries, raw 1/2 cup 4.6 grams
Tangerine, raw 1 medium 1.9 grams
Banana, raw 1 medium 3.2 grams
Broccoli, fresh, cooked 1/2 cup 3.2 grams
Brussel sprouts, cooked 1/2 cup 2.3 grams
Carrot, cooked 1/2 cup 2.3 grams
Green beans, cooked 1/2 cup 2.8 grams
Cauliflower, cooked 1/2 cup 1.7 grams
Spinach, cooked 1/2 cup 2.2 grams
Tomato, raw 1 medium 2.0 grams
Summer squash, cooked 1 cup 2.5 grams
Winter squash, cooked 1 cup 5.7 grams
Peas, cooked 1/2 cup 4.2 grams
Corn on the cob, cooked 1 medium 5.9 grams
Potato, cooked 1 medium 2.3 grams
Lima beans, cooked 1/2 cup 6.6 grams
Baked beans, cooked 1/2 cup 8.0 grams
Walnuts 2 whole 0.3 grams
Brown rice, cooked 1 cup 3.5 grams
White rice, cooked 1 cup 0.6 grams
Bread, whole wheat 1 slice 2.1 grams
Bread, white 1 slice 0.8 grams
Fiber One cereal 1/2 cup 14.0 grams
Raisin bran cereal 1/2 cup 3.5 grams
Cheerios 1/2 cup 2.0 grams
Cap'N Crunch 1/2 cup 0.67 grams
Special K 1/2 cup 0.67 grams
Fruit Loops 1/2 cup 0.5 grams
Crispix 1/2 cup 0.5 grams

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