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What is dietary fiber?


It is very common to hear health experts recommending us to eat more foods that contain fiber. Some people do not really know what fiber is so here is a breakdown of it.
Fiber is also known as roughage. It is a component of plant foods but unlike other nutrients found in plant food which are broken down in the digestive tract and absorbed, fiber is not digested by the body.

There are two types of fiber, insoluble and soluble fiber. It is not really easy to distinguish which foods contain insoluble fiber and those that do not. Most of the time, one food possesses both soluble and insoluble fibers.

Insoluble fiber
Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. It mostly helps to facilitate the movement of food through our digestive tract and therefore it is very helpful for those suffering from constipation. Beans and potatoes contain insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber
As the name implies, it is soluble and can therefore dissolve in water. According to Mayo Clinic, when soluble fiber dissolves in water, it forms a gel-like material that can help in lowering cholesterol and glucose levels in blood.

Examples of foods that contain soluble fiber include

  • Fruits such as oranges, bananas, apples
  • Foods that are roots such as potatoes and carrots
  • Oats
  • Beans
  • Barley



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