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According to my doctor I need to eat more fiber. I'm not a fan of whole wheat bread and bran flakes, so how may I best increase the fiber in my diet? — Janice, ONTARIO

Jane Folkman


Everyone should eat about 20-25 grams of fiber each day, however the average person currently eats only 12-17 grams daily. There are two types of fiber - soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber helps your body's elimination processes. It can be found in wheat bran, whole grains and vegetables. Soluble fiber has been scientifically proven to lower cholesterol levels, which in turn helps reduce your risk of heart disease. Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans and certain fruits such as apples, blueberries, dates, pears and raspberries. It's also found in psyllium, a grain found in some cereal products and in certain bulk fiber laxatives.

To increase your daily fiber intake, choose oatmeal, whole-grain cereal, bran waffles or an oat bran muffin for breakfast. During the day make sure to eat three servings of the high fiber fruits mentioned above, and for dinner include a baked potato with the skin, green peas or beans.

All of the specific foods listed above provide about four grams of soluble fiber per serving which would help you reach your fiber goal. Other rich sources (providing over four grams of fiber per serving) include barley and whole wheat biscuit cereals. Good sources (providing two grams of fiber per serving) include broccoli, carrots, corn, green beans, spinach, oranges, bananas and raisins. You may also want to purchase a psyllium-based powder and add it to your orange juice or a similar beverage each day. A single serving will help you add nearly four grams of soluble fiber with about only 20 additional calories.

About Jane Folkman

Jane Folkman, MS, RD graduated from Case Western Reserve University on a full scholarship with a Master's degree in Public Health Nutrition . She also attended the University of Vermont where she earned her BS degree with a double major in Human Nutrition and Foods and Animal Sciences. Her specialty areas are maternal and child health, diabetes, and nutrition communications.

Jane has served as an elected officer for the American Dietetic Association, and on numerous committees and task forces for this leading professional organization. She has also served as the President of the Massachusetts Dietetic Association. Jane was chosen the Distinguished Dietitian of the Year Award for Massachusetts in 1994.

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