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Natural Fiber is an important component of our diet, but what is it and how do we get the amount we need to reap its healthy rewards?
Natural Dietary Fiber - Definition
Natural Dietary Fiber is also referred to as Roughage or Bulk. The traditional Definition of Natural Dietary Fiber includes all the indigestible parts of edible plants that we naturally eat.
The US Dept. of Agriculture definition of Dietary Fiber includes all Natural Dietary Fibers and also encompasses the Functional Fibers, including the Resistant Starches and Oligofructoses, which are composed of indigestible carbohydrates.
Since our bodies cannot readily digest Natural Dietary Fiber, this plant material traverses the human digestive tract essentially intact, until reaching the large intestines. In comparison, our other nutritional components, such as fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. are much more easily broken down by our digestive system, and then absorbed and assimilated by our body.
Natural Sources of Dietary Fiber
Natural Dietary Fiber can be found in Fruits, Vegetables, Whole Grains, and Legumes. Natural Dietary Fibers from different plant sources feature different quantities of the 2 Primary Fiber Components, exhibit different structures and chemistires, behave differently in our digestive systems, and provide different physiological effects.
More on the Health Benefits of Diffferent Dietary Fibers
The 2 Primary Components of Natural Dietary Fiber
Natural Insoluble Fiber
The Insoluble Fiber component of Natural Dietary Fiber does not dissolve in water:
Natural Soluble Fiber
The Soluble Fiber component of Natural Dietary Fiber does dissolve in water:
Note - Natural Soluble Fibers dissolve in water to form a Viscous Gel, whereas the "Functional Fibers" dissolve to form a Non-Viscous Liquid.
The consumption of Natural Dietary Fiber has been associated with decreased risk for conditions such as constipation, hemorrhoids, gastrointestinal disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, and some cancers. However, most Americans consume only 11-13 grams of Natural Dietary Fiber per day, which is less than half the amount recommended by health experts.
Digestive Health & Dietary Fiber
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