- Fiber is the part of plants that cannot be broken down by the body.
- Fiber helps to maintain regular bowel movements and lowers cholesterol. It also helps to prevent certain chronic diseases. 1
- Getting enough fiber in the diet is very important for people with celiac disease.
- It is suggested that adults eat 21-38g of fiber per day. 2 The amount that is right for you depends on your age, gender, and health conditions. Visit Level Two for a fiber chart to see how much fiber is right for you.
- Fiber is taken out of grains when they are processed.
- Many gluten-free foods are made with refined flour and/or starch which are low in fiber.
- Good news! Dietary fiber is found in whole gluten-free grains, fruits, vegetables, dried beans, legumes (lentils, soybeans), nuts, and seeds.
- Whole gluten-free grains add vitamins, minerals, and fiber to the gluten-free diet.
- Gluten-free grains high in fiber include: amaranth, millet, buckwheat, sorghum, teff, quinoa, and wild rice. You will read more about these grains and find recipes in Level 2 and 3 and in Resources below.
- Choose foods that have whole grains listed in the beginning of the ingredient list.
- Example: whole grain brown rice
- Be sure to buy labeled gluten-free grains. If you would like to add oats to your diet, be sure they are specially produced labeled gluten-free oats. Talk to your doctor before trying them. Click here to visit the Oats page (see page 11 - 14).
- Fiber needs water to work properly in your body. Be sure to drink plenty of water as you add fiber to your diet.
SIMPLE WAYS TO ADD FIBER TO YOUR DIET:
- Make sure a fruit or vegetable is part of every snack and meal.
- Add pre-cut fresh or frozen broccoli, green beans or other veggies to soups or stews.
- Make rice with half quinoa or brown rice.
- Cook chili with one-half lean meat and one-half black or pinto beans.
- Add berries, pears or apples with skin, bananas or mangoes to your hot or cold breakfast cereal or into a smoothie.s
- Make air-popped popcorn.
- Sprinkle ground flax seed or chia seed onto cereal, salad or yogurt. Make sure flax and chia seeds are labeled gluten-free.
TAKE HOME MESSAGES:
- Fiber can help lower the risk of heart disease because it lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. 3
- Add more fiber slowly to your diet. Fiber absorbs a lot of water as it moves through the digestive tract. If you add more fiber to your diet, be sure to drink enough water.
- Cook or bake with a few of the gluten-free grains to add vitamins, minerals, and fiber to your diet.
RESOURCES FOR YOU:
Whole Grains. Gluten Intolerance Group: http://demo.bsoft.us/1180GIG/docs/default-source/educational-bulletins/whole-grains-flat-06-2011.pdf?sfvrsn=2
Whole Grains. Be Free for Me: http://www.befreeforme.com/blog/?p=5643
Add More Veggies to your Day! Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/TenTips/DGTipsheet2AddMoreVegetables.pdf
- Case, S. Gluten-free Diet: A Comprehensive Resource Guide. Regina: Case Nutrition Consulting, 2008.
- Higgins, L. Whole Grains = Nutritional Gold. In Real Life with Celiac Disease: Troubleshooting and Thriving Gluten Free . Eds. Dennis M, Leffler D. AGA. Bethesda, MD. 2010.
- Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet. Mayo Clinic. Accessed March 5, 2013.
Revision Date: 4-24-13
Authors: Melinda Dennis, MS, RD, LDN and Nicolette Taggart
Editors: Anne Lee, MSEd, RD, LD, and Daniel Leffler, MD, MS