Fiber is one of those things that we all know we need and yet may not know why since it isn't digested by the body. First of all, there are two types of fiber -soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water can can be found in oats, barley, beans and some fruits and vegetables. Insoluble fiber is found mostly in whole wheat and some fruits and vegetables. Both types are very good for you, but soluble fiber has even greater benefits.
Soluble fiber, when it mixes with water, forms a gum, which forms a barrier between the digestive enzymes in your stomach and the starch molecules in all the food you have eaten during the same meal with the soluble fiber. It then takes longer for your body to convert the whole meal into blood sugar. This is why it is good to replace some of the carbohydrates you normally use for some of these fiber-rich foods. For example, if you eat a 1/2 cup of rice and a 1/2 cup of beans instead of a full cup of rice, you are reducing the blood sugar reaction of the carbohydrate and are getting greater health benefits.
Oatmeal is famous for lowering cholesterol, but it may lower high levels of triglycerides and reduce blood pressure as well.
Nutrition experts say to aim for 20 grams of fiber, both insoluble and soluble. A good goal for soluble fiber is 10 grams.