Dietary fiber also known as roughage is a vital nutrient that helps in the digestion of food. Fiber helps to keep hunger and blood sugar in check by regulating the body’s use of sugar.

Fiber is further classified in two different varieties, soluble dietary fibers and insoluble dietary fibers, and both are advantageous to health.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water and helps regulate glucose and cholesterol level. Some examples of soluble fiber are oatmeal, blueberries, apples, beans, nuts and lentils.

Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and prevents constipation by helping the food move through the digestive system. Some examples of insoluble fiber are wheat, whole-wheat bread, brown rice, carrots, legumes, tomatoes and cucumber.

Benefits of Dietary Fiber

Consumption of fiber has a lot of benefits on the overall health of a person. Studies have shown that people who have a higher intake of dietary fiber have a lower risk of heart diseases. Fiber helps to relieve and prevent constipation and gastrointestinal complaints. Eating dietary fiber, particularly insoluble fiber, lowers the risk of diverticulitis, an inflammation of the intestine, which is one of the most common age-related disorders. According to some studies, dietary fiber also reduces the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer. Also, fibrous foods are low in calories which makes them perfect for appetite control and weight loss. Fiber balances out your diet by giving you energy throughout the day and also eliminates waste from your body versus foods that are high in fat.

The Recommended Daily Intake (RDI)

The average recommended daily intake of fiber for children aged 2-5 years is 15g per day, 5-11 years is 20g per day, 11-16 years is 25g per day, and 17 years and above is 30g per day. [1]

Fiber Deficiency

Fiber deficiency could lead to many health disorders including constipation, which further leads to haemorrhoids – varicose veins of anus. Long-term constipation could also lead to diverticulitis, which is small hernia of the digestive tract. Lack of fiber may reduce the diversity and amount of beneficial bacteria in your gut that protects you from infectious diseases and promote overall health. Low fiber intake will cause hunger pangs which leads to overeating and obesity. Hypoglycemia, or the rapid drop in blood sugar too, could be caused by low fiber intake.

High Fiber Foods

Dietary fiber could be included in our regular diet in the form of various food. Some foods rich in dietary fiber are listed below.

1Fennel seeds

Fennel seeds are a spice harvested from a herb fennel plant. They have a long and thin shape and are pale green or brown in color. They have a sweet strong taste which is similar to licorice. Fennel seeds are ideal for vegans to get their dose of fiber. Apart from fiber, it is also a rich source of Copper, Potassium, Calcium, Zinc, Manganese, Vitamin C, Iron, Selenium and Magnesium. Fennel seed helps remove toxins and reduces the risk of urinary tract problems. Drinking fennel tea helps flush out excess fluids and is also considered very useful to help with indigestion. It can be simply eaten as a mouth freshener.

  • Per 100g of fennel seeds contains 39.8g fiber. [2]