All About Fiber
Including fiber in your daily diet has a wide range of health benefits—it can even help you lose weight!
WHAT IS FIBER?
Dietary fiber comes mostly from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Fiber is not broken down during digestion like other foods; it keeps its basic form through the intestines, absorbing water along the way. This moisture helps with movement of waste products through the bowel.
Much of the moisture that helps movement of the stools comes from water absorbed by fiber. This is why healthcare providers often recommend more fiber for people with digestive problems, such as diverticulitis (inflammation or infection of the intestine), constipation, hemorrhoids, and irritable bowel syndrome.
FIBER IN YOUR DIET
It is recommended that men consume 38 grams of fiber each day, and women consume 25 grams. This is likely more than you are used to: most Americans eat much less fiber than needed—only about 16 grams per day.
High-fiber diets tend to be low in calories and also provide added bulk that can help keep you feeling full for a longer time. High-fiber diets may also help you lose weight! This may be because fiber requires more chewing, which increases the time you spend eating, giving you more time to feel full.
High-fiber breakfast cereals topped with fruit can be a simple way to add more fiber to your diet. Eating high-fiber cereals can help lower overall caloric intake.
High-fiber foods also provide many health benefits. Diets rich in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Dietary fiber intake lowers blood pressure and improves cholesterol levels. There are many reasons to eat a high-fiber diet.