Fiber is the part of plant-based foods that your body doesn't digest and absorb. Two types of fiber can be found in food: soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool and helps prevent constipation. It also reduces your risk of colon and rectal cancers. It's found mainly in vegetables, wheat bran and whole grains.
Soluble fiber may help improve your cholesterol and blood sugar levels. It's found in oats, dried beans and some fruits, such as apples, oranges, strawberries and grapefruit.
The average American eats about 10 to 15 grams of fiber a day. However, the government's dietary guidelines recommend:
38 grams for men and 25 grams for women under the age of 50
30 grams for men and 21 grams for women over the age of 50
The best way to boost your consumption of fiber is to eat a variety of whole grains, vegetables, legumes and fruits. When buying breads or grains, look for the word whole on the label. Try to eat breads with at least 3 grams of fiber per slice and cereals with 3 or more grams of fiber per serving. Try whole-wheat pasta, which has at least three times the amount of fiber as regular pasta.
(Source: Mayo Clinic website – www.mayoclinic.com)