Fiber, naturally occurring in whole grains, various vegetables and fruits, is known for boosting digestive health. It can help digestive tracts work smoothly by keeping bowel movements regular to prevent constipation and fueling the growth of good bacteria in the intestines.
Higher fiber intake helps with colorectal cancer
Higher fiber is believed to help with colorectal cancer. Many clinical studies suggested the role of higher fiber in reducing the risk of colorectal cancer. For example, a study, appearing in the journal JAMA Oncology, found that higher fiber intake was associated with lower overall mortality of colorectal cancer, with a median follow up of 8 years among 1575 participants (1).
Another population-based trial study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition also found that higher total dietary fiber intake could significantly reduce the risk of incident colorectal adenoma and distal colon cancer (2).
Types of fiber
There are two types of fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber is easily digested in the colon to lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels and it often helps cardiovascular and diabetes prevention and colon health. Soluble fiber includes oats, beans, lentils, various other vegetables and fruits.
Insoluble fiber is less fermentable and it can help clean digestive tracts and promote bowel movements. They can be found in whole grains, nuts, seeds, many other vegetables and fruits.
How much fiber?
Most American people take only about 15 grams a day, although they are recommended to take 25 to 38 grams per day. According to the American Institute for Cancer research, about 30 grams of fiber each day is a good minimum goal.