Food fads may come and go, but the importance of a well balanced diet never goes out of style. One of the most important components of a healthy diet is fibre. Eating foods high in fibre is essential for good health and reduce risk of several diseases.
Dietary fibre is found only in plants and is defined as carbohydrate that is not digested or absorbed. Scientist classifies fibre as either soluble or insoluble. This refers to whether the fibre dissolves in hot water or not. More importantly, it helps to explain the different actions of the two types of fibre in the body.
Insoluble fibre helps bind water in the intestine and increases the volume of waste materials. The end result is more frequent and softer bowel motions and less risk of constipation if consumed with enough fluid.
Soluble fibre traps fatty substances in the intestines thus helps to lower blood cholesterol and also has beneficial effects on the stability of blood glucose levels, improve absorption of other nutrients, increase excretion volume and helps prevent constipation.
The combined action of soluble and insoluble fibre is also important in helping to maintain a healthy population of lactic acid producing bacteria in the large intestine. A predominance of lactic acid producing bacteria helps to prevent the accumulation of toxic and pathogenic (disease causing) bacteria in the digestive system.