What is Fiber?
Fiber is a type of indigestible carbohydrate that can commonly be found on the outer coverings or layers of plants and/or fruits. This complex carbohydrate passes through the digestive system without being broken down completely and without being absorbed by the bloodstream.
When one speaks of fiber, more often than not this person is referring to dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is the one that comes from plant food items and it contains substances like starch, polysaccharides, and lignin. Some people also classify other types of fiber as “functional fiber”. This type includes pectin, resistant starch, and carbohydrate substances that are commercially produced to become “added fiber”. When all these fiber types are added up together they become total fiber. Most nutritionists advocate that one person doesn’t need to choose the type of fiber since having it as part of one’s diet is the most important thing to do.
There are many health benefits associated with the consumption of dietary fiber. In several studies and researches, fiber is known to help lower cholesterol levels, especially the bad cholesterol type. This effect certainly helps those who are at risk of developing heart disease. Those diagnosed with diabetes mellitus may also benefit from fiber consumption because this complex carbohydrate also aids in the lowering of blood sugar levels. Some studies also show that fiber may also help reduce the risk of getting some types of cancer, like those of the breast and colon.
Fiber can be found in a variety of food items including vegetables, fruits, nuts, oatmeal, other cereals, and whole-grain breads. There are also many nutritional supplements that contain dietary fiber to improve its formulation and take advantage of the health benefits of fiber. Many fruit drinks and other food items are also fortified and/or added with fiber to make them more appealing to the health-conscious individual.