With 12 g of fiber per half cup, wheat bran may be one of the most fiber-rich foods you can eat. That half cup holds 48 percent of the recommended daily fiber intake of 25 g for women, and 32 percent of the recommended intake of 38 g for men. The fiber in wheat bran is insoluble, meaning that your body can’t digest it. However, fiber plays important roles in digestion and disease prevention. Wheat bran also provides protein, iron, B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, phosphorous and zinc.
Wheat bran is the outer layer of the wheat kernel, which is removed from the grain during milling. The bran is reserved as a separate product to add fiber, vitamins and minerals to other foods, such as bread. You can also get wheat bran from whole-grain wheat products because whole grains retain their bran. Two slices of bread made with wheat bran offer 3 g of dietary fiber, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
Replacing sugary breakfast cereals or pastries with high-fiber cereals is a good way to add fiber to your diet, says the Harvard School of Public Health. Many ready-to-eat breakfast cereals offer wheat bran that boosts their fiber content. The fiber in wheat bran promotes healthy digestion by adding bulk to your stools and helping digestive wastes pass through your colon. A 1/3-cup serving of 100 percent wheat bran cereal offers 18 g of dietary fiber.
Muffins and Bagels
Muffins made with wheat bran may be high in fiber, but you may also get more fat, sugar and calories than you bargained for when you buy a commercially made bran muffin. A bran muffin that you might buy at a coffee shop may have a healthy 6 g of fiber, but the muffin also has 19 g of fat and 420 calories. For a low-fat break from your usual morning toast or cereal, try a bagel made with wheat bran. If you’re trying to increase your daily fiber intake, drink at least eight glasses of water per day to prevent bloating, gas or constipation, advises the HSPH.
You can increase the fiber content in homemade foods by adding wheat bran to rolls, fruit breads, pancakes or even cookies. Wheat bran adds a hearty texture to your recipes, as well as protecting your digestive and cardiovascular health. You can also sprinkle a spoonful of wheat bran over dry cereals, stir it into hot cereals or blend it with fruit smoothies. A high dietary fiber intake has been linked to lower risks of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, says the HSPH.
- Harvard School of Public Health: Fiber: Start Roughing It! – The Nutrition Source – What Should You Eat?
- Institute of Medicine: Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Nutrition for Everyone: Basics: Carbohydrates
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Wheat Bran, Crude, 0.5 Cup
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Bread, Wheat Bran, 2 Slices