What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is Fiber?

Most people know that fiber is an important part of a healthy diet. Fiber has been found to have numerous health benefits, from supporting bowel regularity to lowering cholesterol. Fiber might also help prevent serious diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

When it comes to increasing fiber in your diet, think plants--grains, fruits and vegetables, and beans, seeds, nuts and legumes. Fiber is found only in plants. It is from the plant cells, particularly the cell walls. The plant fiber that we eat is called dietary fiber. It is unique from other components of the plant because humans lack the enzymes necessary to digest it.

There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble means that when the fiber is mixed with a liquid, it forms a gel-like solution. Insoluble fiber, on...

Because it occurs naturally in foods and is a part of most people's regular diet, fiber is considered to be generally safe at normal amounts. Some people do experience digestive upset (stomach ache, cramps, and/or diarrhea) when they increase their intake of fiber. To avoid this, increase your intake gradually so your body has time to adjust.

There are some theoretical concerns about the use of beta-glucan and its potential effects on the immune system. For more information, see the the Side Effects & Warnings section of the beta glucan article.