Dietary fiber is an unsung health hero. Not only do we need it for healthy digestion and to prevent constipation, it also helps to control appetite, stabilize blood sugar and clear the body of harmful cholesterol.
The National Cancer Institute and the American Heart Association recommend consuming 20 to 35 grams of fiber per day, yet most Americans eat just 10 to 15 grams daily. Ron Cotterel, M.D., an integrative family physician with the Sutter Medical Foundation, says people who don’t eat enough fiber risk developing a wide range of health complications.
“There are a lot of problems related to a lack of fiber,” Dr. Cotterel says. “Complications of constipation may include hemorrhoids, which can become inflamed and cause the painful condition of diverticulitis.”
Fiber not only fights relatively minor intestinal disorders, but may also help prevent coronary disease and colon cancer.