Dietary fiber isn't just for pooping!


A new meta-analysis of eight observational studies suggests another possible benefit for dietary fiber—reducing your danger of suffering a stroke.  British scientists reported in the journal Stroke that each additional seven grams of daily fiber intake was associated with a significant 7% lower risk of the two main types of strokes (ischemic and hemorrhagic). 

Seven grams of fiber is about the equivalent of an extra serving of beans or two servings of fruit such as apples or oranges.


Most people get their fiber from vegetables, fruit, legumes, beans, and whole grains (oatmeal, 100% whole wheat bread, etc.) 


It is definitely possible to get enough fiber from supplements.  The amount of fiber in a fiber supplement varies from brand to brand, but usually ranges from 6-10 grams per serving.  With that said, I suggest using a fiber supplement as just a way to top off your fiber intake in order to meet the daily recommendation.


Per the Institute of Medicine, here are the numbers:

Men over 50:  30 grams

Men under 50:  38 grams

Women over 50:  21 grams

Women under 50:  25 grams


Soluble fiber forms a gel in the stomach and small intestine, slowing the rate of nutrient absorption and slowing gastric empting.  This effect increases your feeling of fullness and influences the overall amount of food eaten, resulting in lower levels of overweight.

Bacterial fermentation of soluble fibers in the large intestine produces short-chain fatty acids, which inhibit cholesterol synthesis by the liver, consequently lowering serum cholesterol levels.

Insoluble fiber adds bulk to our stool, preventing constipation and reducing risk of hemorrhoids. 

Insoluble fiber helps our gut bacteria, or gut flora, to grow.  Our gut bacteria are living organisms that eat sugars and fiber, and prevent bad bacteria from living in our gut and making us sick.  Insoluble fiber is a strong fiber that takes a lot longer for our gut bacteria to break down, which helps them grow and multiply.  

Bottom Line:

There are many reasons to eat your favorite high fiber foods everyday…not only reduced risk of gastrointestinal disorders and diverticular disease, but also better cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and reduced risk of stroke.

In Health and Happiness,

Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for Healthy Goods

Reference:  Health & Nutrition Letter, Tufts University, The Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy


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