Since doing a cleanse is all about eliminating excess waste and toxins from the body, it makes sense that dietary fiber would play a role. Step 1 of the 2-Step Cleanse and Detox from Optimal Health Science is the Digestive Cleanse. This dietary supplement contains a blend of 22 fibers and herbs that are designed to support digestion and regular bowel movements. The regular elimination of waste and toxins from the body is an important function of overall health. But what makes fiber so essential to healthy digestion and good health in general? Here is a short guide to what dietary fiber is, the role it plays in your body, and how to get the fiber you need.

First, it’s helpful to understand what fiber is. Dietary fiber is a plant component that is indigestible. Fiber can’t be broken down by the digestion process, so it can have bulking effect on stools, help alleviate constipation, and make bowel movements more regular. Different types of fiber (soluble and insoluble) contribute to digestion in different ways. Working on increasing your total fiber intake should be enough to ensure that you are getting enough of both types.

According to and various other sources and studies, there are multiple benefits to maintaining a high-fiber diet. Fiber can help you normalize bowel movements, maintain bowel health, lower cholesterol levels, control blood sugar level, and achieve a healthy weight. Getting enough fiber is also recommended to lower the risk for certain diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

Unfortunately, most people in the United States do not get enough fiber. One study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that the average daily intake of dietary fiber was only 16 grams a day. Many different health associations recommend a higher daily fiber intake. The National Cancer Institute, for example, recommends that most adults take in 20 to 30 grams of fiber a day. When you consider the various ways that fiber aids digestion, disease prevention, weight control, and general health, it becomes clear that fiber is an essential nutrient and it is important to make a conscious effort to take in the recommended amount of fiber daily.

High-fiber foods are a good choice because in general they are very nutritious and often low in calories. Eating fiber can help you feel fuller when you eat, and this is one effect that explains why fiber is recommended for weight control. When you feel full, you don’t have the same hunger pangs and cravings you might experience otherwise. Some foods that are especially high in fiber include bran cereals, oatmeal, peas and beans, and whole fresh fruits and vegetables (especially the skins and seeds). Fiber supplements can be used to increase fiber intake as well. While supplements won’t contain all the nutrients found in raw foods, they can still be a helpful option for some people.