What is Dietary Fiber?

Our Reader Score
[Average: 5]

What is dietary fiber and why is it so important to human body?Dietary fiber, whilst it can’t be digested by the body, is absolutely vital for our day-to-day health. On this page, we are going to take a little look at what dietary fiber is, and its importance to the human body.

There are a number of foods out there which contain fiber. You should have absolutely no issues in finding them. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is where most of your fiber will come from.

As mentioned at the start, you can’t digest dietary fiber. This means it will not be ‘absorbed’ by your body. It will simply pass through your body, mainly broken down a little, before being ‘expelled’ in your stool.

There are two types of classification for dietary fiber:

  • Soluble Fiber: This can dissolve in water. It does not completely dissolve, however. It, instead, makes a sort of gel material and then taken into the blood stream. Soluble fiber can help to lower cholesterol (the bad type!) and glucose levels. Citrus fruits will be one of the main sources of soluble fiber for people, although you can also find it in apples, carrots, and beans.
  • Insoluble fiber: This is what the majority of people will think of when they hear the word ‘fiber’. Insoluble fiber, as the name suggests, does not dissolve in water. It remains, relatively, intact. Its job is to help the movement of your stool through the digestive system. It will basically add to its bulk which results in it being a touch easier to take in water. It is remarkably brilliant for those who are suffering from constipation, although we all need insoluble fiber in our diet to ensure that we keep our digestive system working properly.

As mentioned previously, the main reason as to why you need dietary fiber in your diet is to ensure that your stools are soft and at a normal weight. Fiber will help to ensure that hard stools are softened up, and watery stools are made a bit tougher.

It is also believed that a good high-fiber diet can ensure that you reduce the risk of certain bowel conditions. For example; those who consume a decent amount of fiber tend to be at a lower risk of hemorrhoids and colon disease.

As also mentioned previously, dietary fiber can also help to lower cholesterol levels. This will have all manner of benefits. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits here is the fact that you will be at a far lower risk of heart disease. Of course, you could never completely eliminate the risk of heart disease, but you will be in a fairly decent position.

Suffering from diabetes? Dietary fiber can help to slow down the absorption of sugar into your system. This should, hopefully, improve blood sugar levels. In some cases, you may even find that the regular consumption of dietary fiber will greatly reduce the risk of you suffering from Type 2 diabetes in the future (it can’t reduce the risk of type 1 diabetes).

Read more about how to prevent hemorrhoids