Eating a high-fiber diet is thought to help prevent
constipation and its related problems. It may lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and help control blood sugar levels. And it may help with reaching and staying at a healthy weight.
The daily adequate intake amount for fiber has been calculated by the U.S. Institute of Medicine. Men ages 19 and older should strive for 38 grams a day and women ages 19 and older should aim for 25 grams a day.
Fiber is in many foods, including beans, peas, other vegetables, fruits, and whole grain products. You can figure out how much fiber is in a food by looking at the nutrition facts label. If a food has fiber, it will be listed under the total carbohydrate on the label. The food label assumes the daily value (DV) of fiber is 25 grams a day (g/day) for a 2,000 calorie diet.
Be sure to increase the amount of fiber in your diet slowly so
that your stomach can adjust to the change. Adding too much fiber too quickly
may cause stomach upset and gas.
Some doctors recommend adding bran to your diet to help boost
the fiber content. If you do this, start slowly with 1 teaspoon a day.
Gradually increase the amount to several teaspoons a day.
people who have diverticulitis avoid nuts, seeds, berries, and popcorn (because of the hulls). They believe that the seeds and nuts may get trapped in the diverticula and cause
pain. But there is no evidence that seeds, nuts, and berries cause
diverticulitis or make it worse.3
If your diet is high
enough in fiber, your stools should become softer, larger, and easier to
enough fluids every day to help keep your stool soft. High-fiber diets need enough fluid in the body to work properly.
CitationsAmerican Dietetic Association (ADA) (2008). Position of the American Dietetic Association: Health implications of dietary fiber. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 108(10): 1716–1731. Available online: http://www.eatright.org/About/Content.aspx?id=8355.U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (2012). Nutrient data laboratory. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 25. Available online: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov.Davis BR, Matthews JB (2006). Diverticular disease of the colon. In M Wolfe et al., eds., Therapy of Digestive Disorders, 2nd ed., pp. 855–859. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier. Other Works ConsultedAmerican Dietetic Association (ADA) (2008). Position of the American Dietetic Association: Health implications of dietary fiber. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 108(10): 1716–1731. Available online: http://www.eatright.org/About/Content.aspx?id=8355.Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine (2005). Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. Also available online: http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2002/Dietary-Reference-Intakes-for-Energy-Carbohydrate-Fiber-Fat-Fatty-Acids-Cholesterol-Protein-and-Amino-Acids.aspx.
January 25, 2013
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
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