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Dietary fiber — found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes — is probably best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation, along with various other health benefits, such as helping to maintain a healthy weight and lowering the risk of diabetes and heart disease." data-share-imageurl="">

The popularity of high-fiber foods has been growing rapidly, to the point that nowadays, everything from buiscuits to instant noodles boast the presence of fiber. So what exactly is this magical food component, and how do we benefit from it? Let’s find out. 

Dietary fiber — found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes — is probably best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation, along with various other health benefits, such as helping to maintain a healthy weight and lowering the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Dietary fiber, also known as roughage or bulk, includes the parts of plant foods your body can't digest or absorb. Unlike other food components, such as fats, proteins or carbohydrates — which your body breaks down and absorbs — fiber isn't absorbed by your body. Instead, it passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine and colon and out of your body.

Fiber is commonly classified into two types-
1. Soluble (dissolves in water)- Found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium. Soluble fiber helps you feel full.
2. Insoluble (doesn't dissolve in water)- Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans and vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans and potatoes. Insoluble fiber can greatly benefit people who struggle with constipation or irregular stools.

Benefits of a high-fiber diet
1. Normalizes bowel movements. 
2. Helps maintain bowel health. 
3. Lowers cholesterol levels.
4. Helps control blood sugar levels. 
5. Aids in achieving healthy weight.

So how much fiber do you need?
Age 50 or younger- Women: 25 grams, Men: 38 grams
Age 51 or older- Women-: 21 grams, Men: 30 grams

High-fiber foods are good for your health, but beware- adding too much fiber too quickly can cause intestinal gas, abdominal bloating and cramping. Increase fiber in your diet gradually over a period of a few weeks. This allows the natural bacteria in your digestive system to adjust to the change. Also, drink plenty of water. Fiber works best when it absorbs water, making your stool soft and bulky.

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Dietary fiber — found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes — is probably best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation, along with various other health benefits, such as helping to maintain a healthy weight and lowering the risk of diabetes and heart disease." data-share-imageurl="">