Dietary fiber refers to the complex carbohydrates that make up the portions of fruits, vegetables and grains that your body can’t absorb. Fresh fruit offers plenty of soluble fiber, as well as vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients. The soluble fiber in fresh fruit helps maintain normal bowel habits, promotes healthy levels of glucose and cholesterol in your blood and reduces your risk of developing heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other chronic medical conditions.
Apples, pears, peaches, oranges, grapefruit, nectarines, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries are excellent sources of dietary fiber. Other good choices include bananas, cranberries, cantaloupe, cherries, coconut, dates, figs and rhubarb. Depending upon the serving size and the specific fruit, you’ll get anywhere from 1.5 to 5 grams of dietary fiber when you eat a serving of fresh fruit.
If you want to boost your fiber intake, review the fiber content of your favorite fruits and select those with the most fiber. One cup of cantaloupe balls has 1.6 grams of fiber, but a cup of watermelon balls holds only 0.6 gram of fiber. A 2 ½-inch tangerine holds 2.2 grams of fiber, while a 2 7/8-inch fresh navel orange boasts 3.1 grams of fiber. A 100-gram serving, or about 3.5 ounces of medjool dates delivers 6.7 grams of fiber, while the same size serving of delget noor dates has 8.0 grams of fiber. After you’ve done your research, keep a list of high-fiber favorites with your grocery list.
Whenever possible, incorporate edible seeds, skins or peels when you serve fruit. A large apple with its skin intact contains 5.4 grams of fiber, for example, while the same size apple without skin has only 2.8 grams of fiber. You’ll also obtain more fiber from concentrated serving methods. A cup of pureed fresh strawberries has 4.6 grams of fiber, but a cup of sliced fresh strawberries delivers 3.3 grams of fiber. In addition to eating whole fresh fruit, use it on salads, yogurt and other heart-healthy foods. Keep whole or sliced fruit readily available in the refrigerator for snacks or pack a banana or apple in your lunch as simple ways to incorporate fiber-rich foods in your diet.
Women should aim to include 25 grams of fiber in their daily diet. Fresh fruit makes a significant contribution to your daily fiber intake, especially if you eat the recommended two or three servings each day. If you're worried about your fiber intake, speak with your doctor, but adding a serving or two of fresh fruit to your daily diet is a healthy and low-fat way to boost your intake.
- Harvard School of Public Health: Fiber
- Continuum Health Partners: Bowel Function and Dietary Fiber
- Colorado State University Extension: Dietary Fiber
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: National Nutrient Database
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein and Amino Acids
- U.S. Department of Agriculture: Fiber Facts
- apple - banana - orange / fruits image by Jaroslav Machacek from Fotolia.com
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.