Dietary fibers – a fancy expression for a simple thing. As the name implies, dietary fibers are a part of a good diet. They are a complex carbohydrates found in breads, cereals and vegetables, which help us maintain regularity, balance sugar levels and prevent protein wasting.
Dietary fibers are made from different combinations of non-starch polysaccharides such as cellulose, arabinoxylan and plant components such as dextrins, inulin, lignin, waxes, chitins, pectins, beta-glucans and oligosaccharides. They cannot be fully digested by our body, and come in two forms:
- Soluble, and
- Insoluble dietary fibers
Soluble fibers can be partially digested. They are fermented in colon into gases and physiologically active byproducts. Being soluble in water, they bind with fatty acids to aid digestion and stool formation. In addition to increasing stool water content and volume, they lower bad cholesterol, delay glucose absorption and slow bowel movement frequency to provide maximum nutrient absorption in intestines.
Soluble fibers are found in:
- Legumes (peas, soybeans)
- Oats, oatmeal, chia, rye and barley
- Nuts and seeds (psyllium seed husk)
- Fruits (prune juice, plums, bananas, strawberries, mulberries, blueberries, pears, and apples)
- Vegetables (flesh of broccoli, carrots, artichokes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions)
- Dry beans
As the name implies, insoluble fibers cannot be digested. They aid stool transit trough digestive system, ease defecation and prevent constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulosis. Additionally, they slow starch hydrolysis, prevent blood sugar swings and delay glucose absorption thus increasing satiety feeling and preventing weight gain.
Insoluble fibers are found in:
- Whole wheat, multigrain bread
- Brown and red rice
- Bulgur, couscous, whole grains and whole grain cereals
- Seeds, wheat bran and barley
- Some vegetables (green beans, cauliflower, zucchini and celery, and skin of potato, carrot, artichokes, yam and onions)
- Fruits (pears, apples, prune skins)
- Seeds (flax seed)
Due to their importance in maintaining regularity and stabilizing glucose levels, dietary fibers are an essential part of a good diet. Insufficient intake can lead to variety of chronic conditions and digestive upsets better left outside the door. Considering a variety of food sources with good dietary fiber content, it is only a matter of keeping that potato or apple skin on and tossing in some blueberries to your oatmeal to help our body help itself. To make things easier, there is a great variety of products out there designed to meet daily dietary fiber requirements, taking all of five to ten minutes to prepare. Do not be left behind.
For good sources of dietary fibers, check out products offered by Herbal Diet.