Nutrition and weight loss
Discover the benefits of fiber. Learn how a high-fiber diet can improve digestion, lower disease risk, and keep you feeling full.
By Miriam Del Carmen Padilla, MD
Jul 1, 2023
Updated Oct 25, 2023
3 min read
Eating a high fiber diet has a lot of potential health benefits including decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
A high-fiber diet can also help treat digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhea, and hemorrhoids.
However, most people don't eat the recommended amount of fiber.
Fiber can be thought of as a substance found in the outer layers of grains or plants which is not digested in the intestines.
Most dietary fiber is not digested or absorbed, so it stys in your intestines where it helps regulate digestion and affects the consistency of your poop.
There are two types of fiber, Soluble Fiber and Insoluble fiber, each of which is thought to have its own benefits.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water and insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water.
Examples of foods with soluble fiber include:
Examples of foods that contain insoluble fiber include:
The traditional fiber, wheat bran, is a type of insoluble fiber.
Dietary fiber is the total amount of soluble and insoluble fiber in food.
Fiber is found exclusively in plant-based foods.
Foods that are high in recommended daily fiber include:
There are also a number of fiber supplements available.
Examples include psyllium, methylcellulose, wheat dextin, and calcium polycarbophil.
The dose of the fiber supplement should be increased slowly to prevent gas and cramping, and the supplement should be taken with plenty of water or other liquids.
The average man should have at least 38 grams of fiber a day and the average woman should have 25 grams of fiber a day.
Adding fiber to your diet can have some side effects like bloating or gas.
This can sometimes be minimized by starting with a small amount and slowly increasing until your poop becomes softer and and you go more often.
A lifestyle medicine provider can help you figure out how to get more fiber into your diet. Click below to book an appointment with a Lifestyle Medicine provider.