Dietary fiber is found in plant foods and is indigestible by humans. The fiber passes through the small intestine into the colon and helps to keep the colon healthy. Not only do foods rich in dietary fiber help keep your digestive system healthy, they have also been shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Types of Fiber
There are two types of dietary fiber:
- Insoluble fiber is found in whole grains, nuts, wheat bran, and vegetables. This type of fiber does not dissolve in water, so it helps to move material through the colon faster by increasing the bulk of the stool.
- Soluble fiber is found in oats, citrus fruits, apples, barley, flax seeds, and beans. This type of fiber absorbs water and helps to soften stools, making them easier to eliminate from the body. Soluble fiber also binds to compounds in the body that contain cholesterol, reducing your cholesterol level.
Recommended Fiber Intake
According to the Institute of Medicine
, the recommended intake of total fiber for adults 50 years and younger is 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women.