If you find yourself asking “what is dietary fiber anyway”, the answer is fairly simple. In order to work properly our digestive systems require that a portion of that which we take into our bodies by eating is dietary fiber.
All of the fiber that we get in our diets comes from plant sources. It is often thought of as the items that get expelled in our bodily waste that don’t seem to be digested at all. That is partially true, but dietary fiber consists of some other things as well that are not quite so obvious.
Soluble Fiber includes those plant food substances that are readily fermented into gases and physiologically active byproducts.
Insoluble Fiber includes those plant food substances referred to as bulking fibers which absorb water as they move through the digestive tract making the expulsion of bodily waste ( or defecation) easier.
Some insoluble fiber, most notably resistant starch, is also fully fermented in the digestive process.
The answer to the question "what is dietary fiber?" can be had by looking at some of the foods we are already familiar with.
Although all plants contain some dietary fiber, the most practical source of dietary fiber is those plants that have high fiber concentrations. A good example is plums and prunes. The fruit has a thick skin of mostly insoluble fiber covering a pulpy inner section consisting mostly of soluble fiber.
Many of the foods we consume provide both soluble and insoluble fiber.
The following list shows some of the common foods that contain fiber.
Soluble fiber is found in varying quantities in all plant foods, including:
Sources of insoluble fiber include:
Fiber supplements can also provide a source of dietary fiber with both soluble and insoluble fiber in the diet.
The bottom line when considering the importance of dietary fiber in the diet is in knowing how to increase the amount you take in each day. Here are just a few tips on how to sneak those extra grams of dietary fiber into your diet.
An increase of fiber intake
should be accompanied by an increase in water or other beverages because of the
water absorbing nature of fiber. Now when someone asks you "what is dietary fiber?", you will know the answer.