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Among many of the substances your body requires, fiber stands out, as it is not only significant in its role in the digestive process; it is also unusual. You cannot manufacture fiber within your body and it is not a by-product of an internal process. This complex substance must form part of your diet.


Dietary Fiber: Basic Types

Dietary fiber consists of two basic types: soluble and insoluble.

  • Soluble Fiber: Soluble fiber, as the name suggests, is easily broken down in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. As a gel, it acts to slow down the process of your digestion. As a result, you feel full and do not overeat.
  • Insoluble Fiber: You body is not able to absorb this form of fiber. It passes unaltered from one end of the system to the other. Its purpose is to bulk-up your stool.


What is the Role of Dietary Fiber?

  • Dietary fiber plays many roles in the GI tract. It helps to regulate the entire system. In fact, if you want to maintain healthy bowels, you have to eat enough of the right types of fiber. Yet, fiber is also prominent in other aspects of retaining good health. It helps to reduce the incidence of cancer, specifically colon cancer. It is responsible for lowering your blood cholesterol. Fiber also acts to protect you and your body against cardiovascular disease.
  • Fiber also has another secondary role. Because it makes your stomach feel full, you do not eat as much. This can help people with weight issues decrease the amount of food they ingest and can be used as part of a sensible diet to help them reduce their blood sugar levels and lose weight. Fiber, in this and all instances, however, must be part of an overall sensible diet and weight loss program.


What Foods Contain Fiber?

The answer to this question is simple: plants. This is the only source of natural fiber. Eating fruit, nuts, and vegetables is an excellent way of ensuring you obtain sufficient and high quality fiber. The most common kinds include:

  • Almonds
  • Apples
  • Artichoke
  • Beans – navy, lima, black, garbanzo
  • Brown rice
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Bulgur
  • Carrots
  • Figs
  • Flaxseed
  • Oatmeal
  • Pears
  • Pistachio nuts
  • Prunes
  • Quinoa
  • Raspberries
  • Whole grain breads
  • Whole wheat pastas

If you are not obtaining the right amount of fiber in your diet on a daily basis, consider taking a supplement.


How does Dietary Fiber Work?

The process involving both types of dietary fiber is not complex. Water-soluble fiber becomes a gel in the intestine. It makes your stomach feel full and prevents you from eating more than your body requires. In the form of insoluble fiber, it draws in water from various parts of your body. This fluid is drawn into the large intestine where it acts to help any waste products to move along steadily and easily.


Dietary fiber is an important element of any meal. Found only in plants, it is beneficial to our physical health in several different ways. Whether soluble or insoluble, fiber can help you control blood sugar levels, avoid colon cancer, lose weight and feel regularly happy. If you want to eat right, be sure to include the correct amounts of dietary fiber in your diet.


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