Eating a high-fibre diet is thought to help prevent constipation and its related problems. It may lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and help control blood sugar levels. And it may help with reaching and staying at a healthy weight.
Men age 19 and older should aim for 38 grams a day, and women age 19 and older should aim for 25 grams a day.
Fibre is in many foods, including beans, peas, other vegetables, fruits, and whole grain products. You can figure out how much fibre is in a food by looking at the Nutrition Facts label. If a food has fibre, it will be listed under the total carbohydrate on the label. The food label assumes the daily value (DV) of fibre is 25 grams a day (g/day) for a 2,000 calorie diet.
Dietary fibre (grams)
Black beans, cooked
3/4 cup (175 mL)
Pinto beans, cooked
100% bran cereal (non-flake)
1/3 cup (30 g)
Apple with skin
Pear with skin
Berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)
½ cup (125 mL)
Brown rice, cooked
Whole wheat spaghetti, cooked
1 cup (250 mL)
1/4 cup (60 mL)
Be sure to increase the amount of fibre in your diet slowly so that your stomach can adjust to the change. Adding too much fibre too quickly may cause stomach upset and gas.
Some doctors recommend adding bran to your diet to help boost the fibre content. If you do this, start slowly with 1 teaspoon a day. Gradually increase the amount to several teaspoons a day.
Some people who have diverticulitis avoid nuts, seeds, berries, and popcorn (because of the hulls). They believe that the seeds and nuts may get trapped in the diverticula and cause pain. But there is no evidence that seeds, nuts, and berries cause diverticulitis or make it worse.footnote 2
If your diet is high enough in fibre, your stools should become softer, larger, and easier to pass.
Drink enough fluids every day to help keep your stool soft. High-fibre diets need enough fluid in the body to work properly.
Health Canada (2008). Nutrient value of some common foods. Ottawa: Health Canada. Also available online: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/nutrition/fiche-nutri-data/nutrient_value-valeurs_nutritives-eng.php.
Davis BR, Matthews JB (2006). Diverticular disease of the colon. In M Wolfe et al., eds., Therapy of Digestive Disorders, 2nd ed., pp. 855–859. Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.
Other Works Consulted
American Dietetic Association (ADA) (2008). Position of the American Dietetic Association: Health implications of dietary fiber. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 108(10): 1716–1731. Available online: http://www.eatright.org/About/Content.aspx?id=8355.
Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine (2005). Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. Also available online: http://www.iom.edu/Reports/2002/Dietary-Reference-Intakes-for-Energy-Carbohydrate-Fiber-Fat-Fatty-Acids-Cholesterol-Protein-and-Amino-Acids.aspx.
Current as ofMarch 28, 2018
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineRhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes EducatorColleen O'Connor, PhD, RD - Registered Dietitian
Current as of: March 28, 2018
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator & Colleen O'Connor, PhD, RD - Registered Dietitian
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