Fiber plays a crucial role in a balanced diet, but often, it receives little fanfare. You've probably heard of its ability to prevent constipation. Of the two types of fiber -- soluble and insoluble -- it's the latter that's credited with this benefit. When you consume insoluble, fiber-rich foods, the fiber promotes digestion and increases stool bulk. Plant-based foods typically contain a mixture of both types of fiber. Soluble fiber helps reduce cholesterol and balance blood sugar. For digestive benefits, focus on foods rich in insoluble fiber.
Foods Rich in Insoluble Fiber
Increase your consumption of nuts, vegetables, whole-wheat products and beans to get more insoluble fiber in your diet. Particularly rich sources include wheat bran, navy beans, lentils, black-eyed peas, kidney beans and pinto beans. These foods contain between four and 11 grams of insoluble fiber per serving. Aim to consume 25 grams of total fiber each day if you are a female under age 50 and 21 grams if you're over 50. The recommended intake for men under age 50 is 38 grams and 30 grams if you're over 50. Increase your intake gradually over two or three weeks to avoid the risk of digestive discomfort.