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Dietary Fiber – Best Sources

Dietary fiber, also known as roughage or bulk includes all edible parts of plant foods that your body is unable to digest or absorb. When included in your diet, fiber promotes good gastrointestinal tract health, it also help reduce the risk of some chronic health problems such as hemorrhoids and diverticulosis.  Different types of plants have varying amounts and kinds of fiber. To receive the greatest health benefit, you should eat a wide variety of high-fiber foods. There are two basic types of fiber: those that don’t dissolve in water (insoluble fiber) and those that do (soluble fiber). Both soluble and insoluble fiber are undigested. They are not absorbed into the bloodstream. Instead of being used for energy, fiber is excreted from our bodies.

Insoluble fiber increases bulk and substance to stools by accelerating movement of material through your digestive tract. Insoluble fiber retains water in the colon, resulting in a softer and larger stool. Like a sponge, insoluble fiber absorbs many times its weight in water, swelling up and helping to eliminate stool and relieve constipation. It also removes toxic waster through the colon in less time.

Insoluble fiber includes:

  • Lignin found in root vegetables, wheat, fruits with edible seeds (such as strawberries)
  • Cellulose found in wheat bran, legumes, peas, root vegetables, cabbage family, outer covering of seeds, and apples
  • Hemicellulose found in bran, whole grain and vegetables

Best Sources of Insoluble Fiber

Whole-wheat products legumes
skin of fruit and root vegetable skins seeds and nuts: sunflower seeds, soybean nuts, almonds
Vegetables such as green beans and dark green leafy vegetables Corn bran

Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material similar to pectin in jelly. It can also help lower blood cholesterol and Regulate blood sugar (glucose) for people with diabetes

Water Soluble fiber includes:

  • Pectin: found in most plants, but is most concentrated in apples, strawberries and citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, grapefruits)
  • Gums: found in oatmeal, barley, and legumes
  • Galactooligosaccharides
  • Mucilages
  • Polyfructoses (Inulin and Oligofructans)

Best Sources of Soluble Fiber

oat bran broccoli
kidney beans pears
lentils apples
sweet potatoes barley
Oranges and other citrus fruits peas
carrots nuts
flaxseed Psyllium husk