Bulletin #4075, Nutrition for Seniors: Focus on Fiber

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14 Ways to Boost Fiber

fresh-baked blueberry muffins still in the baking tin

Circle two new ways that you will add more fiber in your diet.

  1. Eat berries. They are very good sources of fiber.
  2. Eat more dry beans. These are probably the best fiber sources. Cook a package of dry beans and freeze in usable quantities. Canned beans or even canned chili are good too.
  3. Choose romaine lettuce or spinach for your salad instead of iceberg lettuce.
  4. Enjoy 100 percent whole-wheat or whole-grain bread. A dark color isn’t enough; compare the fiber numbers on the labels.
  5. Mix high-fiber breakfast cereal (at least 5 grams of fiber per serving) with your regular brand.
  6. Choose brown rice instead of white rice. It’s better.
  7. Buy crackers with at least two grams of fiber per ounce.
  8. Serve hummus, made from chickpeas, instead of sour-cream dips.
  9. Eat the skins of potatoes and other fruits and vegetables.
  10. Use whole-wheat flour when baking breads, pancakes, and/or muffins.
  11. Don’t forget to eat corn, including popcorn.
  12. Add wheat bran, wheat germ, or oat bran to baked goods, cereal, and on top of yogurt.
  13. Snack on dried fruit, such as apricots, which are concentrated sources of nutrients and fiber.
  14. Eat whole fruits and vegetables, such as oranges, grapefruits, or carrots, instead of drinking juice.


  • helps digest food;
  • helps you stay regular;
  • may protect you from some types of cancer and heart disease.

There are two kinds of fiber:

  • soluble
  • insoluble

It is important to have both kinds of fiber in your diet. You can do this by eating a variety of foods each day.

Soluble fiber

Soluble fiber is found in dry beans, peas, lentils, oats, fruits, and some vegetables, like carrots and squash.

Eating foods with soluble fiber can help lower blood cholesterol and decrease your risk of heart disease.

Foods with soluble fiber can help lower blood sugar levels, too. This is important to manage diabetes.

Insoluble fiber

Insoluble fiber is found in foods like wheat bran, whole grains, and all vegetables and fruits.

Insoluble fiber is often called “roughage” or “bulk” because it keeps bowels running smoothly.

Eating enough foods with insoluble fiber can help prevent and relieve flare-ups of constipation and hemorrhoids, and may help prevent some types of cancer, like colon cancer.


Dilled Low-Fat Yogurt Dressing or Dip

1 cup low-fat yogurt
2 Tablespoons vinegar
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon dill seeds or dill weed
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon minced garlic

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Refrigerate for 2 or more hours to let flavors blend.
  2. Serve as dressing on salad, or serve as a dip with cauliflower and broccoli flowerets, celery and carrot sticks, whole snap peas, cucumber and tomato wedges, sliced summer squash, sweet pepper slices, etc.

Blueberry Bran Flake Muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Vegetable cooking spray
1 1/2 cups bran flake cereal
1 cup skim milk
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

  1. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  2. In large mixing bowl, combine cereal and milk. Let stand about 3 minutes or until cereal softens.
  3. Add egg and oil; mix well. Add flour mixture, stirring only until combined. Stir in blueberries.
  4. Portion batter evenly into twelve 2 1/2-inch muffin-pan cups coated with cooking spray.
  5. Bake at 400ºF about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Makes 12 muffins.

In cooperation with The Maine Nutrition Network, a partner with Maine Department of Human Services, Bureau of Health.

Information in this publication is provided purely for educational purposes. No responsibility is assumed for any problems associated with the use of products or services mentioned. No endorsement of products or companies is intended, nor is criticism of unnamed products or companies implied.

© 2001, 2006

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