We’ve all heard that a diet rich in fiber helps promote weight loss and fight disease such as cancer, but exactly how does fiber do that?

First of all, its important to understand that there are two different kinds of fiber—insoluble (dietary) and soluble. Insoluble fiber cannot be absorbed into the blood stream. Instead it promotes your digestive health by speeding up the removal of material in your digestive tract. By removing waste, insoluble fiber helps reduce the risk of such diseases as colon cancer and helps minimize discomfort from an unhealthy digestive system. Sources of insoluble fiber include whole grain cereals, wheat bran, and the skins of fruits and vegetables.

Soluble fiber is fiber that can be absorbed. This type of fiber has been shown to help lower bad cholesterol (which reduces your risk of heart disease) and helps with weight loss. This is because soluble fiber makes you feel fuller longer, causing you to eat less especially when paired with lean protein. Good sources of soluble fiber include oatmeal, beans and legumes, oat bran, barley, and citrus.
Health professionals suggest that the average adult consume 20 to 35 grams of dietary fiber per day. This goal can be met with a well-balanced, varied diet consisting of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables and at least 3 servings of whole grains.  A serving of a fiber supplement such as Metamucil 30 minutes before each meal will also help you get enough fiber and curb your appetite so you can avoid binging during meals.

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