Dietary fiber refers to the cell wall components in plants: namely, pectin, beta-glucans, hemicellulose, cellulose, lignin, fructans, and gums. Therefore, all foods of plant origin such as vegetables and fruits are sources of dietary fiber. The fiber content and composition, however, varies depending on the plant part harvested for food, fruit or vegetable type, maturity, and the growing environment of the plant.

For good health, the National Cancer Institute and American Diabetes Association recommend daily consumption of high fiber foods. Both agencies suggest daily high dietary fiber intake amounting to 20 – 35 g per day. The USDA 2005 dietary guidelines recommend 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables, and a minimum of 1.5 whole grain food servings (for babies of 2 -3 years old) per day to meet our daily dietary fiber requirements. The number of all fiber food servings increases with age. For a person of 9 years and older, the recommended whole grain serving is 3 – 6 per day. Read this list of dietary recommended allowance (RDA) for dietary fiber for all ages.

The following are examples of one dietary fiber servings.

Example 1: One fruit and vegetables fiberservings:

  • a small glass of 100% fruit or vegetable juice (3/4 cup or 6 oz)
  • a medium-size piece of fruit (an orange, small banana, medium-size apple)
  • 1 cup of raw salad greens
  • ½ cup of cooked vegetables
  • 1/2 cup of cut-up fruit or vegetables
  • 1/4 cup of dried fruit
  • 1/2 cup of dried beans or peas

Example 2: Whole grain fiber servings :

  • 1/2 cup cooked rice, pasta, or cooked cereal
  • 1 ounce dry pasta, rice or other dry grain
  • 1 slice bread
  • 1 small muffin (weighing one ounce)
  • 1 cup ready-to-eat cereal flake

Table 1: A list of high fiber food sources and estimates of their fiber content (listed high to low). The chart includes top 50 foods high in fiber content from about 850 food products analysed by the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory.

Dietary fiber food sources Fiber content (g/100 g edible food portion)
Cereals ready-to-eat, KELLOGG, KELLOGG'S ALL-BRAN Original 29.33
Bulgur, dry 18.29
Barley, pearled, raw 15.60
Oat bran, raw 15.43
Wheat flour, whole-grain 12.17
Beans, navy, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt 10.49
Buckwheat flour, whole-groat 10.00
Beans, pinto, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt 9.01
Beans, black, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt 8.72
Peas, split, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt 8.32
Dates, deglet noor 7.98
Lentils, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt 7.88
Chickpeas (garbanzo beans, bengal gram), mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt 7.62
Beans, kidney, red, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt 7.40
Cornmeal, degermed, enriched, yellow 7.39
Cornmeal, whole-grain, yellow 7.30
Cornmeal, self-rising, degermed, enriched, yellow 7.10
Lima beans, large, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt 7.02
Beans, great northern, mature seeds, cooked, boiled, without salt 7.01

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