Fiber is an incredibly important nutrient, but it does way more than just prevent constipation.
Dietary fiber helps you feel full, improves digestion, lowers cholesterol levels and is linked to a lower risk of a myriad of chronic diseases including heart disease and certain cancers, per the Mayo Clinic.
How Much Fiber Do You Need?
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends 25 grams of fiber per every 2,000 calories you eat each day. So if you’re on a 1,500-calorie diet, you need about 19 grams of fiber per day; if you eat 2,500 calories a day, you need about 31 grams of fiber.
Eating 25 to 29 grams of fiber a day is linked to a 15 to 30 percent lower risk of all-cause and heart-related mortality, per a February 2019 meta-analysis in The Lancet. However, most people get less than 20 grams of fiber per day.
There are two main types of fiber: soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material — it can help maintain healthy glucose and blood cholesterol levels, per the Mayo Clinic. Foods high in insoluble fiber help move food through your digestive system, which is why it is especially great for folks with constipation.