Dietary Fiber: Benefits and Sources
Dietary fiber is a complex combination of sugars that is difficult for the body to digest or “breakdown” for energy. There are two types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble fiber.
- Soluble fiber
- Binds with fatty acids slowing down the time it takes for the stomach to empty and slowing down the rate of sugar absorption
- Beneficial for reducing cholesterol and controlling sugar intake
- Insoluble fiber
- Helps keep the digestive tract moving and maintains optimal pH levels in the intestines
- Most helpful for reducing the risk of developing colorectal cancer.
The recommended daily amount of dietary fiber is different for men and women.
- Adult women
- <50 years old: 25 grams/day
- >50 years old: 21 grams/day
- Adult men
- <50 years old: 38 grams/day
- >50 years old: 30 grams/day
Food sources of dietary fiber include beans, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, apples, prunes, wheat bran, nuts and seeds. When speaking about fiber to patients, be sure to educate on the wide range of health benefits it provides.