Dietary fibre is the indigestible component of plant foods. Photo: Thinkstock
Research suggests that the typically low-fibre Western diet may be contributing to widespread illnesses such as coronary artery disease, diabetes and various diseases of the large intestine, including cancer. So, it’s vitally important to take action to ensure you’re informed and taking care of yourself.
Dietary fibre – or roughage – is essentially the indigestible component of plant foods, and its positive effects have been known for centuries. It falls into two broad categories, soluble and insoluble, and most plants contain both kinds, although some are richer in one category than the other.
Soluble fibre is found in plant matter that dissolves in water and becomes sticky, such as lentils, legumes, oat bran, oatmeal, barley and pectin-rich fruit such as apples, pears, strawberries and citrus fruit. Insoluble fibre does not dissolve, and passes through the digestive tract largely unchanged. It’s found in wholegrain products such as brown rice, and fruit and vegetables like carrots, broccoli and peas.
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