Fiber is an incredibly important part of a healthy diet and a healthy life. Not only is it a prebiotic—which acts as a sort of food for the healthy bacteria already living in your gut—but it’s also a key dietary component to keeping you regular.
There are two basic types of fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber helps enable good digestion. It breaks down in your body when mixed with water and turns into a gel-like substance, which helps slow the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream, as well as helps comfortably move waste through your GI tract.
Foods rich in soluble fiber:
- Oats and oat bran
- Beans, peas, lentils
- Apples, citrus fruits, strawberries
Insoluble fiber helps promote regular bowel movements. It does not break down in your body—rather, insoluble fiber helps pass food and waste through your digestive system, helping you maintain regularity and a healthy system.
Foods rich in insoluble fiber:
- Whole wheat
- Green beans
How much fiber should you eat per day?
Women should eat around 20-25 grams of fiber per day, and men should eat around 30-38.
For perspective, one apple with peanut butter is about 6 grams of fiber, 1 cup of hummus is about 16 grams of fiber, and 1 cup of sliced avocado is about 10 grams of fiber. There’s a lot of good fiber in fruits and veggies, so it won’t be too much of a stretch to focus on getting enough fiber in your diet by simply being mindful of eating whole foods.
Fiber and weight loss
Fiber is an excellent dietary component to focus on when working towards losing weight. Why? It keeps you feeling fuller longer and acts as a sponge in your stomach and gut that soaks up toxins and helps your body get rid of them with more ease.
Fiber and the Bristol Stool Chart
One of the best indicators of how much fiber you’re getting in your diet is the Bristol Stool Chart. This chart measures stools from 1 to 7 based on how much water and fiber you’re getting in your diet.
If your stools are typically around a 1 or a 2 on this chart, then you need more fiber and water in your diet asap. A healthy stool sits around a 4 on this scale.
First published: Lewis SJ, Heaton KW (1997) Stool form scale as a useful guide to intestinal transit time. Scandinavian Jorunal of Gastroenterology 32: 920–4
Questions about fiber? Send us a message or give us a call if you’d like to try Fiber Plus, or if you have any questions about your overall health and wellness.