What Is Fiber and Why Is It Important

This post was written by Heather Sachs. Heather is a Registered Dietitian with a Masters degree in Clinical Nutrition. She has more than 15 years of experience combining her knowledge in food, nutrition, and regulatory affairs as well as translating science into impactful brand communication. Heather is currently Blue Apron’s Director of Regulatory Affairs. 

Brussels sprouts are high in fiber
A serving of Brussels Sprouts is a good source of fiber

According to The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), women should aim to consume at least 25 grams of fiber and men 38 grams of fiber per day. Most Americans are not reaching that goal. On average, Americans are consuming 9-11 grams per day, less than half of the recommended amount.

What is fiber?

Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate that helps promote healthy digestion and regularity. It is commonly found in fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. It provides satiety (that sensation that keeps you feeling full) because it takes longer for your body to digest.

What is the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber?

First and foremost, both types of fiber are important and beneficial to consume. Many foods contain both types. As it’s digested, soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance which slows digestion, giving you a feeling of satiety or fullness. It supports healthy cholesterol levels and helps maintain healthy blood sugar. Soluble fiber is found in foods like oats, beans, legumes, nuts, barley, oat bran and some fruits and vegetables. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to stool, helping usher it through the gut faster, thus making it easier for the body to pass. Insoluble fiber can be found in whole grains, wheat bran and vegetables. 

Benefits of fiber

Fiber fills you up with fewer calories. It does this because foods higher in fiber typically are lower in calories. Fiber adds bulk to your diet and slows down your digestion. Fiber helps keep blood sugars level and promote sustained energy.

Adding fiber to your diet doesn’t have to be a challenge. Focus on fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Be sure to increase your water intake along with your fiber. Below are some foods which provide a good source of fiber.

black bean bowl with fiber
Veggies, black beans, & quinoa all contribute to the wonderful fiber grain bowl

Foods that are a good source of fiber

  • 1 medium apple- 4.4 grams
  • ½ cup cooked black beans- 7.5 grams
  • ¼ cup cooked farro- 5 grams
  • ½ cup chickpeas- 7 grams
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli- 2.4 g
  • 1 medium artichoke- 10g
  • 1 small sweet potato- 4g
  • 1 cup Brussels Sprouts- 3.3g
  • 1 cup chopped carrots- 3.6g 

Achieving your goals can be easy! Find nutritious recipes on the Blue Apron wellness menu.