Fiber is a substance found in plants. Dietary fiber -- the kind you eat -- is found in fruits, vegetables, and grains. Your body cannot digest fiber, so it passes through your intestines quickly.
Dietary fiber adds bulk to your diet. Because it makes you feel full faster, it can help you control weight.
High fiber diets can also help with constipation. If you have diverticulitis, some types of fiber can make your symptoms worse. Talk to your doctor.
What to Expect at Home
Slowly increase the amount of fiber in your diet. If you have bloating or gas, you probably have eaten too much and need to reduce the amount of fiber you eat for a few days.
You should eat 20 to 35 grams of fiber a day. To get more into your diet, eat different types of foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and grains. You will also need to read food labels carefully to see how much fiber they have. Choose foods that have higher amounts of fiber.
Vegetables, Legumes, and Nuts
Vegetables are a major source of fiber. Eat more:
Lettuce, Swiss chard, raw carrots, and spinach
Tender cooked vegetables, such as asparagus, beets, mushrooms, turnips, and pumpkin
Broccoli, artichokes, squashes, sweet potatoes, and string beans
You can also get more fiber by eating:
Legumes, such as lentils, black beans, split peas, kidney beans, lima beans, and chickpeas
Sunflower seeds, almonds, pistachios nuts, and pecans
Fruits are another good source of fiber. Eat more:
Apples and bananas
Peaches and pears
Tangerines, prunes, and berries
Figs and other dried fruits
Grains are another important source of dietary fiber. Eat more:
Hot cereals, such as oatmeal, farina, and Cream of Wheat
Whole-grain breads (whole wheat or whole rye)
High-fiber cereals (such as bran, shredded wheat, Grape Nuts, Ry Krisp, and puffed wheat)
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.