Dietary fiber may not give you the energy and nourishment you need to get through the day, but it does deliver major health benefits. The diverse range of indigestible substances found in fruits and other plant-based foods are generally categorized as either insoluble or soluble, depending on how they interact with water. Most fiber-rich foods supply ample amounts of both types, but certain foods – including pineapple – contain mostly one kind of fiber.
For about 80 calories, a 1-cup serving of fresh pineapple chunks provides 2.3 grams of fiber, or 9 percent of the recommended daily value. Pineapple falls just short of qualifying as a good source of fiber by U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards, which state that foods that provide at least 10 percent of the daily value for fiber per serving, or 2.5 grams, count as good sources of fiber, while those that deliver at least 20 percent of the daily value for fiber per serving, or 5 grams, are excellent sources.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, just 3 percent of a pineapple’s fiber is soluble, the type that dissolves in water to form a sticky substance capable of reducing high cholesterol and maintaining normal blood sugar levels. Pineapple is a much better source of the health benefits associated with insoluble fiber, however, since this kind of fiber accounts for 97 percent of the fruit’s total fiber content. Insoluble fiber binds with water and helps sweep food through your digestive tract more efficiently. It also promotes bowel regularity by making stools larger, softer and easier to pass.
Dietary guidelines recommend that most women through the age of 50 should get about 25 grams of fiber a day. This suggestion is based on the recommendation that all healthy individuals, regardless of gender or age, should get at least 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed. Women who typically eat more than 1,800 calories worth of food each day, therefore, need more than 25 grams of fiber to receive the associated health benefits. A highly active woman whose daily diet averages 2,200 calories needs about 31 grams of dietary fiber a day.
Bananas, apples, pears, grapes, avocados and many other kinds of fruit are also higher in insoluble fiber. Unlike pineapple, however, most fruits contain a more balanced ratio of insoluble to soluble fiber. The fiber content of an unpeeled peach, for example, is about 54 percent insoluble and 46 percent soluble, making it a significant source of both kinds of fiber. Fruits that are higher in soluble fiber include dried plums, grapefruit, oranges, tangerines and other kinds of citrus. According to the USDA, the fiber provided by a navel orange is about 58 percent soluble and 42 percent insoluble.
- American Diabetes Services: Soluble Fiber and Insoluble Fiber - What's the Difference?
- USDA National Agriculture Library: Individual Sugars, Soluble, and Insoluble Dietary Fiber Contents of 70 High Consumption Foods
- USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory: Pineapple, Raw, All Varieties
- Wellness Foods A to Z; Sheldon Margen, M.D., et al.
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