Types of Dietary Fibre
Dietary fibre is the part of the plant that our bodies cannot digest. There is no fibre in animal-based foods like meat or dairy products. Dietary fibre consists of two main types, insoluble and soluble fibre. Both types of fibre are important for good nutritional health because they have different functions.
Insoluble fibre is the "roughage" that you might have heard of in foods. This type of fibre cannot be broken down easily by our digestive system and therefore comes out with the stool. It is the fibre that helps to keep you regular by providing the bulk that pushes food through the digestive tract quickly. Because it moves food quickly, eating insoluble fibre may lower your risk of colon cancer. Foods that are good sources of insoluble fibre are wheat and corn bran, whole-grain breads and cereals, vegetables, fruit skins, and nuts.
In contrast to insoluble fibre, soluble fibre does not help to keep you regular because it is partly broken down by the bacteria in our large intestine, providing some energy. Soluble fibre acts like a trap in our small intestine that can collect waste materials and move them out of our body. This trapping ability also slows the absorption of sugars and fats into our body, which can help to lower blood cholesterol levels and aid in controlling blood sugar levels, especially in people with diabetes. Food sources of soluble fibre are fruits, legumes (dried peas, split peas, lentils), nuts, seeds, brown rice, and oat, barley and rice brans.
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