Dietary fiber is found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and other plant based foods. No animal products contain dietary fiber.
Dietary fiber, also known as roughage or bulk, includes all parts of plant foods that your body can't digest or absorb. Unlike other food components, fiber isn't digested by your body. Instead, it passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine, colon and out of your body.
Fiber is commonly classified as soluble (it dissolves in water) or insoluble (it doesn't dissolve.
Soluble fiber: This type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.
Insoluble fiber: This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans and vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans and potatoes, are good sources of insoluble fiber.
Benefits of a high fiber diet
- Normalises bowel movements
- Lowers cholesterol levels
- Helps control blood sugar levels
- Helps reduce risk of colon cancer