Dietary fiber are forms of carbohydrates found in plants that cannot be digested by humans. All plants contain fiber, including fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. Fiber is often classified into two categories: soluble and insoluble.

  • Soluble fiber draws water into the bowel and can help slow digestion. Examples of foods that are high in soluble fiber include oatmeal, oat bran, barley, legumes (eg, beans and peas), apples, and strawberries.
  • Insoluble fiber speeds digestion and can add bulk to the stool. Examples of foods that are high in insoluble fiber include whole-wheat products, wheat bran, cauliflower, green beans, and potatoes.

A high-fiber diet is often recommended to prevent and/or treat constipation, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and colon cancer.

Eating a high-fiber diet can also help improve your cholesterol levels, lower your risk of coronary heart disease, reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, and lower your weight. For people with type 1 or 2 diabetes, a high-fiber diet can also help stabilize blood sugar levels.