Fiber Count in Vegetables

by Caroline Thompson

Vegetables are a good source of dietary fiber. Fiber is essential to help maintain the digestive system, and provides many health benefits including lowering your risk for heart disease and diabetes, and possibly helping to prevent certain types of cancer, according to the Mayo Clinic. The good news: A variety of high fiber vegetables are available to suit any taste and provide variety in your diet. The Mayo Clinic recommends getting 21 to 25 grams of fiber per day for women and 30 to 38 grams for men.

Types of Fiber

There are two basic types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance. It swells as it absorbs water. Some vegetables that have soluble fiber include peas, with 8.8 grams of fiber per cup, carrots, 1.7 grams each, psyllium, 16 grams per ounce, and black beans, with 10.4 grams per cup.

Insoluble fiber, also called roughage, does not dissolve in the digestive tract. It increases stool bulk and moves through the digestive system unaltered. This type of fiber helps relieve constipation. Some vegetables that have insoluble fiber include celery, with 8 grams per cup, spinach, 3.5 grams per cup, and cauliflower, with 3.5 grams per cup.

Health Benefits

Dietary fiber aids the digestive system and normalizes bowel movements. It may even provide relief from irritable bowel syndrome, according to MayoClinic.com. Eating a variety of high-fiber foods daily can help lower blood cholesterol levels by reducing low-density lipoprotein, bad cholesterol, and help control blood sugar levels, decreasing your risk of Type 2 diabetes. It may also lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids.

Fiber in Vegetables

Eating a wide variety of high-fiber vegetables ensures that you get the benefits from both soluble and insoluble fiber. The higher the fiber count of the vegetables, the fewer servings necessary to reach the recommended daily amount of dietary fiber.

Removing the peels, hulls, skin and seeds from vegetables lowers the fiber content, according to Colorado State University.

The fiber type and content of vegetables varies. For example, a baked potato with the skin has 2.9 grams of fiber, an artichoke has 10.3 grams, cooked sweet corn 4.2 grams, Brussels sprouts 4.1 grams per cup, an onion 5.7 grams, cauliflower 4.2 grams per cup and field beans 11.4 grams per cup.

Vegetable Fiber in Diet

A variety of healthy alternatives are available to help you incorporate high fiber vegetables into your diet. Vegetables can be juiced raw with the skin and seeds to get the highest fiber count from the vegetables. Some examples include carrot juice with 1.9 grams per cup, celery juice, 3.8 grams per cup and cucumber juice, 1 grams per cucumber.

Vegetables can be grilled, steamed and eaten raw for variety and to get the maximum fiber count out of each vegetable.

Side Effects

High-fiber vegetables have few side effects. Eating too many raw vegetables may give some people gas. Eating too many carrots can turn your skin a yellow to orange color, according to the National Institutes of Health. This is because of the beta-carotene in carrots.

Photo Credits

  • Heike Brauer/iStock/Getty Images

About the Author

Caroline Thompson is a professional photojournalist who has been working for print and online publications since 1999. Her work has appeared in the "Sacramento Bee," "People Magazine," "Newsweek" and other publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in photojournalism from California State University at Hayward and a personal trainer certification from the university's Health and Fitness Institute.