Q:

Why do we need fiber in our bodies?

A:

Dietary fiber eases waste removal in the body's excretory system and reduces the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease and obesity, according to Mayo Clinic. Women under 50 need to consume approximately 25 grams of daily fiber, while 38 grams are recommended for men in the same age group.

Fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate commonly found in whole grains, nuts, vegetables, fruits and legumes. Soluble fiber regulates hunger and calorie intake by dissolving in water, forming a gel-like substance that slowly passes through the system and makes the stomach feel full, according to WebMD. Insoluble fiber helps food and waste travel through the body faster and enables healthy bowel movements. Without sufficient fiber intake, stool may become too hard or thin and watery, causing constipation.

High-fiber foods are often low in calories, making them ideal for weight control. In a balanced diet, fiber helps stabilize blood sugar levels and reduce the production of harmful cholesterol, according to Mayo Clinic. WebMD suggests fostering a healthy high-fiber diet by avoiding refined grains, such as white bread, and sticking to whole-grain breakfast cereal, rice and pasta. Fruit and raw vegetables are good substitutions for high-calories snacks, and fiber-rich nuts and legumes beef up recipes.


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