Fiber is the bulk, the roughage, needed by the intestines to move its contents through the digestive tract. Fiber cannot be absorbed or digested. It is not fattening unless eaten in excessive amounts. Fiber acts like a sponge in the stomach. It prevents and relieves constipation, binds toxins, dilutes bacteria, and absorbs water. It also keeps the stools moist, soft and bulky.
Fiber is found in whole foods, particularly whole grains such as brown rice, millet, teff, and quinoa; legumes such as lentils, black beans and chickpeas; and in fresh fruits and vegetables. Whole grains actually have more fiber than vegetables and fruits.
Cancer of the colon, prostate and breast, and other disorders such as diverticulitis, appendicitis, hemorrhoids, and varicose veins are all related to a high fat, low fiber diet. A diet high in fiber will be low in fat. Those who switch to a high fiber diet lose weight, cholesterol levels down, and need no laxatives.
A good way to judge if your diet is rich in fiber is to check your stool. If it floats, all is well. If it sinks, you need more fiber in your diet.
Unfortunately, refined grains such as white rice are calorie rich and nutritionally poor. Whole grains are rich in B vitamins, as well as iron, zinc and folacin.
Bottom line: a low-fat, high fiber diet key to healthy and regular.