SmartEngageTM

Fiber

Dietary fiber, found in all plant-based foods, plays an essential role in human health. Most whole foods contain a combination of the two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Both types of fiber help maintain the health of your digestive system and promote regular bowel movements.

Soluble fiber pulls in water to form a gel in the digestive tract. This slows digestion, so your stomach and intestine do not absorb as much of some nutrients, like starch and sugar. As a result, cholesterol levels go down over time, which may help prevent heart disease and stroke. Consuming soluble fiber may also improve glucose tolerance in people with diabetes. This type of fiber is a common ingredient in many over-the-counter laxatives. Psyllium husk (which contains both soluble and insoluble fiber), pectin, and the soft parts of fruits, dried beans, and peas are examples of soluble fiber.

Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, can be found in the peels of fruit, such as apples, blueberries, and grapes. It acts as a natural laxative that speeds the passage of foods through the stomach. It also gives stool its bulk and helps it move quickly through the gastrointestinal tract.

Studies suggest that getting more fiber in your diet may play a role in the treatment of conditions such as gastrointestinal disease, constipation, hemorrhoids, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some forms of cancer. Most Americans do not get the recommended amount of fiber (25 to 35 g. per day) in their daily diet.

I Would Like to Learn About:

Related Information

Supplements with Similar Side Effects

View List by Side Effect

Supplements with Similar Uses

View List by Use

Supplements with Similar Warnings

View List by Warning

Uses of this Supplement

Atherosclerosis Breast cancer Colorectal cancer Constipation Crohn disease Diabetes Diarrhea Hemorrhoids Hypercholesterolemia High blood pressure Irritable bowel syndrome Obesity Prostate cancer Ulcerative colitis

Drugs that Interact

Summary

Learn More About

Nutrition

Review Date: 8/5/2015  

Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by the A.D.A.M Editorial team.

Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2019 A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.