Plenty of foods add fiber to your diet, but salmon isn’t one of them. Meat, poultry and fish are naturally fiber-free because fiber is a type of carbohydrate that comes solely from plant sources. Even though your favorite fillet of salmon won’t up the fiber in your diet, just about any food that pairs with it will add fiber to your meal.
Why Fiber is Important
You know that fiber is important for regularity, but what else does it do? Fiber typically fits into one of two categories: Soluble or insoluble. Soluble fiber is that soft gushy part of plant cells that holds on to fluid. It acts the same way in your gut by absorbing water. The benefit to you is slower digestion that helps stabilize blood sugar levels – a major benefit if you’re diabetic – and also potentially lower cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber is the rigid outer husk of cell walls that protects everything inside. Your body doesn’t break it down so it stays pretty much in solid pieces as it makes its way through your gut. As it travels through, insoluble fiber pushes out waste, promoting regular bowel movements. Regularity is essential for bowel health and lowers your risks of chronic intestinal problems.
You need a certain amount of fiber in your daily diet to support these functions. For every 1,000 calories you consume, you need 14 grams of total fiber, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 states. Food labels are based on a 2,000-calorie diet. If this is a normal amount of calories for you, you’ll need 28 grams of total fiber every day.
Adding Fiber To Salmon
Although salmon has 0 grams of fiber, you can coat it to add some fiber if you wish. Season bread crumbs with your favorite dried herbs. Coat the salmon fillet in nonstick cooking spray and roll it around in the seasoned bread crumb mixture until thoroughly covered. Sear in a hot skillet until golden brown and finish in the oven until it flakes apart and is completely cooked. Not only will you get a healthy crunchy coating to your entrée, you’ll add 2.5 grams of fiber from one-half cup of the seasoned bread crumbs.
Lentils are an ideal high-fiber starchy side for a perfectly seared salmon fillet. One cup of cooked lentils has 5.5 grams of fiber. If you prefer a traditional brown rice side, you’ll still get some fiber – 3.5 grams from 1 cup of cooked brown rice. Further boost the amount of fiber on your plate by enjoying a side of steamed broccoli. One cup of chopped cooked broccoli offers 5.5 grams of fiber. Asparagus also complements salmon well. You’ll get about 1.2 grams of fiber from four spears of asparagus.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Fiber, Total Dietary (g) Content of Selected Foods per Common Measure, Sorted by Nutrient Content
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
- MayoClinic.com: Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.