Bran muffins made with raw bran flakes keep your intestines moving regularly. But other foods are good sources of wheat bran fiber too. Dietary fiber is not absorbed but provides roughage to your diet. Check the labels of whole-wheat foods to get an accurate count of fiber per serving.
Whole-wheat kernels are made up of three components: the rough outer layer, or bran; the inner core, or endosperm; and the embryo, or germ. Whole-wheat flour has all three parts, and foods made with this type of flour are rich in fiber. Sometimes, wheat bran is added to baked goods, cereals and other foods, increasing the fiber content. Four tablespoons of raw wheat bran supplies 6.2 grams of dietary fiber, 2.25 grams of protein and only 31 calories, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database.
Look for products made with whole-wheat flour and added wheat bran for the highest fiber content. Two slices of whole-wheat bread provide approximately 5.6 grams of fiber. Instead of regular pasta, try whole-wheat varieties, which contain about 6 grams of fiber per cup of cooked pasta. Ready-to-eat cereals that are made with wheat-bran flakes are another good source, containing around 5.2 grams of dietary fiber per cup. Add a few tablespoons of wheat-bran flakes to smoothies, yogurt, homemade cookies, muffins and breads. Sprinkle them on fresh fruits, vegetables and hot cereals. Always check the contents of baked goods and choose those with less fat, sugar and calories.
Fiber is categorized as either soluble or insoluble. Wheat bran is insoluble in water and improves gastrointestinal health by keeping your stools soft and bulky. Fiber speeds the passage of food through your digestive tract, preventing constipation. Foods high in dietary fiber give you a full feeling because they are not digestible. This may help you maintain a healthy weight or even lose weight on a low-calorie diet.
The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults get 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories they eat. If you eat 1,700 calories daily, you should consume 24 grams of fiber; if you eat 2,500 calories daily, you need 35 grams of dietary fiber. Some people are allergic to wheat products and should not eat foods with wheat bran. Talk with your doctor if you have any health concerns.
- Harvard School of Public Health: The Nutrition Source Daily Fiber Requirements
- U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database: Wheat Bran, Crude
- U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database: Spaghetti, Whole Wheat, Cooked
- U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database: Bread, Whole-Wheat
- U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database: Cereals, Ready-to-Eat, Bran Flakes
- MayoClinic.com: Nutrition and Healthy Eating -- Dietary Fiber
Deila Taylor received a bachelor's degree in biochemistry from Occidental College with graduate work towards a Ph.D. in pharmacology and nutrition at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. Taylor has written for LoopLane, The Nutrition Counselor, Eve Out of the Garden and produces interviews for The Mormon Women Project. She is a member of the American Society for Nutrition.