Since last few decades scientists have begun to understand the importance of fiber in our food. Although it is not a nutrient per say, it is still a very important part of our diet. If you are wondering which foods contain fiber, you will be surprised to know that you do not need to search for any special food to get your fiber. Fiber is part of almost any plant based food such as fruits and vegetables. Of course some contain more fiber than others. In case you have been advised to take more fiber and need more information you can find lot of options in this web site. You can also consult your nutritionist.
What is Dietary Fiber
Dietary fiber is the fiber which you take as part of your diet or normal food which you take on day to day basis. Fiber is a special substance which is not digested by our body. The type of fiber varies from fruit to fruit or vegetable to vegetable. It also varies depending on the part of the plant you are eating. Some types of fiber are Pectin which is present in Apples, Gum present in Acacia and Guar, Lignin, Cellulose, Hemicellulose and mucilage. All these fibers can be further divided into two broad categories – Soluble and Insoluble fiber. Each of these fibers have different benefits and can be used to treat certain common disorders.
Insoluble Dietary Fiber
Insoluble dietary fiber also known as insoluble fiber is a type of fiber which does not dissolve in water. Example of such fiber include lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose. Insoluble fibers expand in the gastrointestinal region when it absorbs water. Hence they increase the bulk of your stool and speed up the passage of waste through your digestive tract. Example of foods which contain insoluble fiber include whole grains, such as wheat bran, beans and vegetables. If you suffer from irregular bowel movements, you would notice that your bowel movements will start becoming easier. Regular bowel movement is a boon which helps in maintaining good health as well as prevent many disorders such as Diverticulosis, piles, colon problems and constipation.
Soluble Dietary Fiber
Soluble dietary fiber also known as soluble fiber is a fiber which is soluble in water. Example of such fiber includes pectin and gum found in fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains, such as oats, particularly oat bran guar and acacia. Psyllium is also an good example. Soluble fiber slows down the movement of food being digested in the small intestines. Foods rich in soluble fiber may help you to reduce your blood cholesterol levels because the fiber reduces the amount of dietary cholesterol your body absorbs from food. It also traps cholesterol from the intestines. Soluble fiber is good for people who suffer from high blood sugar levels since it slows down the absorption of sugar from foods into your blood, making it easier for you to control your blood sugar levels.
What About Fiber From Whole Grains
Whole grain food is nothing but the flour made from the entire seed of the grain. For example to make bread from whole grain wheat manufacturers use the entire seed and not just the endosperm from which white bread is made. The outer covering of the grain also known as bran is retained in whole grain foods. This bran is a great source of fiber. Many studies have suggested that whole grain food fiber is better than just the white grain foods. Research by scientists at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis and published in the “Journal of the American College of Nutrition” in 2000 reported lower death rates in older women who consume whole grains than women who consume refined grains.