If you're working on adding more fiber to your diet, you're taking a step toward improved health. As the part of plant foods that the body isn't able to digest, fiber passes through your system mostly intact, boosting digestion and playing a number of other important roles, such as helping in weight management and improving heart health. Fruit, including bananas, apples and peaches, is one of the top sources of fiber in the diet.
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Fruity, Fabulous Fiber
Bananas, apples and peaches all contain fiber, but apples, with skin, are the clear winner, with 4.4 grams in a medium-sized fruit. Bananas come in second, with 3.1 grams in a medium-sized fruit, and peaches are last, but by no means losers, with 2.2 grams in a medium-sized fruit. Be sure to eat apples with their skin as you'll lose more than half the fiber if your eat them without; a medium apple without the skin has only 2.1 grams of dietary fiber
All Forms of Fiber
To get the full benefits of fiber, you need both types -- insoluble and soluble. Insoluble fiber travels through the digestive tract unchanged, speeding up the movement of food through the digestive system and preventing constipation. Soluble fiber does change as it makes its way through your digestive system, becoming a sticky gel; it slows digestion, thereby helping you feel full longer after a meal, which may help you eat less and prevent weight gain. It also helps lower cholesterol, by carrying some of it out with waste matter, and it may help prevent cardiovascular disease, reports NYU's Langone Medical Center.
Soluble and Insoluble Fiber
Bananas, apples and peaches are sources of both types of fiber. According to NYU Langone Medical Center, bananas, apples and peaches all contain the same amount of soluble fiber -- 1 gram per medium-sized fruit. The rest is insoluble fiber. According to Clemson University, adults should get 5 to 10 grams of soluble fiber each day, with the rest coming from insoluble fiber.
Making a Fiber-Rich Meal
The Institute of Medicine suggests adults consume 14 grams of total fiber for every 1,000 calories in their diet. That works out to 21 to 25 grams of fiber per day for women and 30 to 38 grams per day for men. Increase your fiber intake by pairing your favorite fruits with other fiber-rich foods at each meal. For breakfast, top a bowl of oatmeal with sliced bananas. Make a big salad for lunch with all your favorite veggies and throw in some chopped apples for sweetness. At dinner, top a chicken breast with savory stewed peaches and serve it with a side of steamed broccoli.