Fiber, also known as roughage, is a type of carbohydrate found in plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Unlike other carbohydrates, fiber cannot be broken down and absorbed by the body, so it passes through the digestive system relatively intact.
There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance that helps to slow down digestion and lower cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and helps to promote regular bowel movements by adding bulk to stool.
Fiber has several health benefits, including:
- Promoting digestive health: Fiber helps to prevent constipation and promote regular bowel movements by adding bulk to stool.
- Lowering cholesterol levels: Soluble fiber can help to lower cholesterol levels by binding to cholesterol in the digestive system and preventing it from being absorbed into the bloodstream.
- Regulating blood sugar levels: Fiber can help to slow down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, which can help to prevent spikes in blood sugar levels.
- Promoting satiety: High-fiber foods can help to promote feelings of fullness and reduce overall calorie intake, which can be helpful for weight management.
The recommended daily intake of fiber varies depending on age and gender, but generally ranges from 21-38 grams per day for adults. However, many people do not consume enough fiber in their diet, which can lead to digestive problems and other health issues. To increase fiber intake, it is recommended to consume a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds on a daily basis.