People with diets high in fiber have a lower risk for gain gain, obesity, development of insulin resistance and diabetes. Fiber also prevents constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulosis. It helps reduce the risk of chronic diseases like colon and breast cancer. Fiber may help lower LDL [bad] and total cholesterol, therefore reducing the risk of heart disease. It can also help lower blood sugar to better manage diabetes.
What Is Fiber?
Dietary fiber is a complex mixture of plant materials that are resistant to digestion breakdown and absorption in the small intestine. There are two basic forms of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, seeds, brown rice, oats and barley. It prevails or reduces the absorption of certain substances into the blood stream. Insoluble fiber is found mainly in whole grains and on the outside of seeds, fruits, legumes and other foods. It is like a sponge that swells within the intestine to promote more efficient elimination and alleviate some digestive disorders.
How Much Fiber Should I Eat?
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends everyone should consume 14 grams of fiber for every 1000 calories. Eating a variety of foods that contain fiber is the best way to get an adequate amount. Whole grain pastas are an excellent source of fiber. Each 2 0z. serving of whole grain pasta provides 6 grams of insoluble fiber. Other sources of dietary fiber are whole grain breads, cereals and other whole grain products. Fruits and vegetables with edible skins and seeds are also a source of fiber.