Fiber can relieve constipation and normalize your bowel movements. Some studies suggest that high-fiber diets might also help with reducing the risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.
Weight loss is another area where fiber might help. High-fiber foods generally make you feel fuller for longer. Fiber adds bulk but few calories. Studies have found that people with high fiber intake tend to weigh less.
Interestingly, different types of fiber might affect your health in different ways. That's why the Nutrition Facts Panels on some foods list 2 categories of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber may help to lower blood sugar and cholesterol. It's found in oat bran, beans, peas and most fruits. Insoluble fiber is often used to treat or prevent constipation and diverticular disease, which affects the large intestine, or colon. Insoluble fiber is found in wheat bran and some vegetables.
In general, people should not be too concerned by the specific type of fiber. The focus should be more on eating diets that are rich in whole grains, vegetables and fruits to get the daily fiber requirements.