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Diet & Nutrition

Dietary Fiber: Eat more of it

"Eat more fiber". This is something that many doctors and dieticians tell us. But what is dietary fiber and why is it so important for us?
Deepti Prasad
October 19, 2023

We often hear doctors and dieticians emphasize the importance of "eating more fiber." But what exactly is dietary fiber, and why is it so crucial for our well-being? This blog dives into the world of fiber, exploring its benefits and how to incorporate it into your diet for optimal health.

What is Dietary Fiber?

Dietary fiber, the indigestible part of plant-based foods, has been a staple in human diets for centuries. While it offers no calories itself, fiber boasts a wealth of health benefits.

Benefits of Dietary Fiber:

  • Gut Health Champion: Fiber acts like a natural brush, cleaning your digestive system and promoting healthy gut bacteria. This prebiotic effect contributes to overall gut health.
  • Weight Management Ally: Feeling full after meals? Thank fiber! It keeps you satiated for longer, aiding in weight management and preventing overeating.
  • Blood Sugar Regulator: Fiber helps regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down the digestion of sugary foods and simple carbohydrates.
  • Cholesterol Control: Fiber helps lower bad cholesterol levels, promoting a healthy cardiovascular system.
  • Bowel Movement Regularity: Fiber adds bulk and softness to stool, preventing constipation and ensuring regular bowel movements.
  • Cancer Prevention: Studies suggest fiber may play a role in preventing certain types of cancer, particularly colon cancer, by promoting gut health and eliminating toxins.

Types of Fiber:

There are two main types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble. Both offer unique benefits:

  • Soluble Fiber: This type dissolves in water, forming a gel-like substance that helps regulate blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
  • Insoluble Fiber: This non-dissolving fiber adds bulk to your stool, promoting regularity and gut health.

Dietary Sources of Fiber:

To reap the benefits of fiber, incorporate a variety of plant-based foods into your diet:

  • Whole Grains & Millets: Brown rice, wheat, oats, quinoa, and millets like ragi and sorghum are excellent sources of fiber.
  • Fruits & Vegetables: Choose whole fruits like apples, bananas, berries, and kiwis over juices to maximize fiber intake. Vegetables like broccoli, carrots, spinach, and beans are also fiber powerhouses.
  • Seeds: Sprinkle flax seeds, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds on salads, soups, or yogurt for a fiber boost.
  • Legumes: Lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, and soybeans are not just protein champions; they're also rich in fiber, especially in the skin. Make sure to consume them with their skin intact!

How Much Fiber Do We Need?

The recommended daily fiber intake for women in midlife is around 30 grams. This translates to roughly 5 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables, along with a couple of servings of whole grains.


Dietary fiber is a  nutritional powerhouse that promotes gut health, weight management, blood sugar regulation, and more. By incorporating fiber-rich foods into your diet, you can take a significant step towards a healthier and happier you. So, stock up on those fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes – your digestive system (and overall health) will thank you!