Fiber is found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. The main benefits of fiber are that it softens your stool and helps with the process of digestion.
Better digestion can lead to improved satisfaction after a meal and controlled appetite based on true hunger. Fiber helps with the avoidance of constipation, abdominal discomfort, and gas, it increases energy levels, and lowers levels of anxiety and depression (MayoClinic, 2021).
Foods with fiber have a range of positive effects on health. These benefits include helping to maintain a healthy weight and lowering risk of diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer (MayoClinic, 2021).
25-30 grams of fiber is recommended, per day, by the American Heart Association. It is suggested that fiber intake is from a variety of foods. Also, supplements should not be used for reaching the recommended daily intake. Currently, the average adult in the United States gets only 15 grams of fiber a day (UCSF, 2021).
Both soluble and insoluble fiber are important for digestion. It is important to know that each has different properties and characteristics, allowing them to help the body i
n different ways. Fiber, in general, is a carbohydrate that cannot be broken down by the digestive tract (UCSF, 2021).
Soluble fibers absorb water during digestion so they help build up a stool, to be passed, encouraging digestion and the bowel movement itself. This type of fiber helps decrease blood cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, barley, oats, and oat bran.
Insoluble fiber remains the same during digestion, instead of soaking up water. Because insoluble fiber is set to be discarded, it encourages the excretion process to take place, promoting movement of contents within the digestive tract. Insoluble fiber is found in fruits with edible peels or seeds, vegetables, whole grain products, bulgur wheat, stone ground cornmeal, cereals, bran, rolled oats, buckwheat, and brown rice.
Sources to reference for more information:
Mayo Clinic. (January 6, 2021). Dietary fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet.
UCFS Health. (2021). Patient Education: Increasing Fiber Intake. https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/increasing-fiber-intake