The message is everywhere: cut down on fat and get more fiber, as much as 20 to 30 grams a day. Eating a diet rich in fiber has been shown to help lower the level of cholesterol in the blood and therefore reduce the risk of heart disease. Fiber also helps lower the risk of colorectal cancer.
Federal health officials say that one of the best ways to increase fiber consumption is by eating eat more fruit. But does it matter what type of fruit you consume?
Actually, the fiber content of fruits can vary considerably. And how they are prepared is also important. Dried fruit offers generous amounts of fiber, but that comes at a cost -- high calorie counts.
Among the fruits highest in fiber:
-- Dates 13.4 grams/cup.
-- Prunes 12.1 grams/cup.
-- Raspberries 8.4 grams/cup.
-- Seedless raisins 6.6 grams/cup.
-- Kiwi 6.0 grams/cup.
-- Apricots 4.0 grams/cup.
-- Oranges 4.0 grams/cup.
-- Pears 4.0 grams/cup.
-- Apples 3.4 grams/cup.
Among the fruits on the lower end of the spectrum are:
-- Nectarines 2.2 grams/cup.
-- Pineapple 1.9 grams/cup.
-- Grapes 1.6 grams/cup.
-- Cantaloupe 1.3 grams/cup.
-- Watermelon 0.8 grams/cup.
But don't despair if you love watermelon. It has other healthful attributes, including high quantities of vitamins A and C. It is important to remember that fiber isn't the only nutrient that fruits provide. And eating any fruit is better than munching on a high-fat snack.
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