Fiber is an indigestible component of all plant foods that is not broken down in the digestive system. There are two types of fiber, soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
Sources of Fiber
- Grains such as bran, whole wheat, brown rice, oat bran, corn bran.
- Beans such as adzuki, black, black, garbanzo, lentils, kidney, navy, white, mung, yellow and pinto beans.
- Vegetables such as cooked cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, beet greens, bok choy, brocolli, brussel sprouts, kale, peas, squash.
- Fruits such as avocado, apples with skin, apricots, bananas, blackberries, blueberries, boysenberries, cantaloupes, currants, elderberries, figs (dried), gooseberries, grapefruit, loganberries
- Nuts and seeds such as almonds, cashews, flax seeds, pistachios, sesame seeds
Benefits of Fiber
- Aids digestion and metabolism
- Maintains proper bowel movements
- Assists with weight reduction
- Used to lower cholesterol
- Prevents some types of cancer
Types of Fiber
Fiber can be divided into two groups based on the ability to dissolve in water. Soluble fiber includes sources of fiber which readily dissolve in water, while insoluble fiber refers to sources of fiber that will not dissolve in water.
Soluble fiber is found in plant cells and includes gums, mucilage, and pectins. Health benefits of soluble fiber include lowering cholesterol and easing constipation.
Sources of soluble fiber include:
- oat bran
- dried beans
- soy products
Insoluble fiber is found in the structural components of plant cells, and includes cellulose, hemicelluloses, and lignin. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to stools and prevents constipation.
Sources of insoluble fiber include:
- wheat bran
- corn bran
- rice bran
- skins of fruits and vegetables
- nuts and seeds
- wholegrain foods