The USDA recommends that adults take in a minimum of 25 to 35 grams of fiber daily, and soluble fiber should account for one-third to one-half of the total. As many as 60 grams of fiber per day is required for optimal health. If you eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables as well as at least five servings of grain products per day, you are very likely meeting your fiber requirements. Unfortunately, the typical American eats only 10 to 15 grams of fiber daily.
One serving of vegetable is 1/2 cup cooked vegetable or 1 cup of a raw leafy vegetable (like spinach). One serving of fruit is one medium sized apple, pear, or 1/2 cup berries. One serving of grain is 1/2 cup cooked grain.
Most foods that are high in fiber have a mix of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Because the average diet contains three times as much insoluble as soluble fiber, it is best to focus on foods that are higher in soluble fiber. These include grains such as pasta, oatmeal, rice, and soy; vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and yams; and fruits such as bananas, papayas, and avocados.
The problem, however, with recommending a generic list of high-fiber foods is that individuals may have an intolerance to one or more of them. If you have a problem with soy, wheat, gluten, or the like, then increasing your consumption of these foods may actually make your symptoms worse.
To learn more about fiber please refer to the book, The Irritable Bowel Syndrome Solution.
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Dr. Wangen is the founder and medical director of the IBS Treatment Center, the award winning author of two books, and a nationally recognized speaker on digestive disorders. He has been on ABC, NBC, and Fox as well as public radio, and was named one of Seattle’s Top Doctors by Seattle Magazine.