Fiber and Your Child: How Much Fiber is Enough?
Fiber is an important nutrient that keeps your child's intestines working comfortably. Foods that are good sources of fiber are beneficial because they are filling and therefore discourage overeating. High fiber foods stay in the stomach longer and require more chewing; prolonged chewing will help satisfy your child's appetite.
Research has shown that there is a positive relationship between fiber in our diet and reduced risk of many diseases including diabetes and certain cancers. Fiber can also reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol). When combined with drinking adequate fluids, fiber also helps move food through the digestive system and protect against constipation.
Where is the fiber? Dietary fiber is found in plant foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils and whole wheat grains. There are two types of fiber - soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber acts like a sponge. It absorbs water in the intestines and forms a gluey gel which picks up cholesterol and carries it out of the body. Insoluble fiber acts like a broom because it doesn't dissolve in water. It adds bulk and softness to the stools and keeps them moving along comfortably preventing constipation.