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Dietary fiber comes from plants. It is the portion of a plant that is not digested by enzymes present in the digestive tract but that may be digested by the microorganisms that inhabit the intestines. The foods that contain dietary fiber are fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and grains.

The amount and type of fiber varies by the type of plant. Dietary fiber may be soluble fiber or insoluble fiber, depending on whether the fiber is soluble in water. As an example, the inner portion of an apple contains soluble fiber whereas the peel is made of insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber can contribute to a feeling of fullness and help with weight management. It also helps to decrease the absorption of dietary sugars and fats, thereby helping to manage blood sugar and blood fat levels. Water-soluble fiber also serves as a food source for the beneficial microorganisms that inhabit the digestive tract. In addition to fruits and vegetables, oat bran and other oat products, cooked dried beans, peas, and lentils provide soluble fiber. The insoluble fiber portion of plant foods is helpful in moving waste products through the digestive tract and in providing bulk to the feces. Insoluble fiber is beneficial in preventing constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticuli. Wheat bran, whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables are excellent sources of insoluble fiber.

The Dietary Reference Intake for dietary fiber (soluble and insoluble fiber, combined) for adults is 38 grams for males 18-50 years old and 30 grams for those 51 and older. The recommendation for females 18-50 years is 25 grams of fiber per day and 21 grams for women 51 years and older.

Food, Standard Amount Dietary Fiber (g)
Navy beans, cooked, ½ cup 9.5
Bran ready-to-eat cereal (100%), ½ cup 8.8
Kidney beans, canned, ½ cup 8.2
Split peas, cooked, ½ cup 8.1
Lentils, cooked, ½ cup 7.8
Black beans, cooked, ½ cup 7.5
Pinto beans, cooked, ½ cup 7.7
Lima beans, cooked, ½ cup 6.6
Artichoke, globe, cooked, 1 each 6.5
White beans, canned, ½ cup 6.3
Chickpeas, cooked, ½ cup 6.2
Great northern beans, cooked, ½ cup 6.2
Cowpeas, cooked, ½ cup 5.6
Soybeans, mature, cooked, ½ cup 5.2
Bran ready-to-eat cereals, various, ~1 oz 2.6-5.0
Crackers, rye wafers, plain, 2 wafers 5.0
Sweet potato, baked, with peel, 1 medium (146 g) 4.8
Asian pear, raw, 1 small 4.4
Green peas, cooked, ½ cup 4.4
Whole-wheat English muffin, 1 each 4.4
Pear, raw, 1 small 4.3
Bulgur, cooked, ½ cup 4.1
Mixed vegetables, cooked, ½ cup 4.0
Raspberries, raw, ½ cup 4.0
Sweet potato, boiled, no peel, 1 medium (156 g) 3.9
Blackberries, raw, ½ cup 3.8
Potato, baked, with skin, 1 medium 3.8
Soybeans, green, cooked, ½ cup 3.8
Stewed prunes, ½ cup 3.8
Figs, dried, ¼ cup 3.7
Dates, ¼ cup 3.6
Oat bran, raw, ¼ cup 3.6
Pumpkin, canned, ½ cup 3.6
Spinach, frozen, cooked, ½ cup 3.5
Shredded wheat ready-to-eat cereals, various, ~1 oz 2.8-3.4
Almonds, 1 oz 3.3
Apple with skin, raw, 1 medium 3.3
Brussels sprouts, frozen, cooked, ½ cup 3.2
Whole-wheat spaghetti, cooked, ½ cup 3.1
Banana, 1 medium 3.1
Orange, raw, 1 medium 3.1
Oat bran muffin, 1 small 3.0
Guava, 1 medium 3.0
Pearled barley, cooked, ½ cup 3.0
Sauerkraut, canned, solids, and liquids, ½ cup 3.0
Tomato paste, ¼ cup 2.9
Winter squash, cooked, ½ cup 2.9
Broccoli, cooked, ½ cup 2.8
Parsnips, cooked, chopped, ½ cup 2.8
Turnip greens, cooked, ½ cup 2.5
Collards, cooked, ½ cup 2.7
Okra, frozen, cooked, ½ cup 2.6
Peas, edible-podded, cooked, ½ cup 2.5

Source: ARS Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 17.

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