Dietary fibre

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Seeded wholemeal bread
Seeded wholemeal bread, a nice way to get fibre into your diet

Dietary fibre, dietary fiber or roughage is the indigestible portion of plant foods having two main components:

  • soluble (prebiotic, viscous) fibre that is readily fermented in the colon into gases and physiologically active byproducts, and
  • insoluble fibre that is metabolically inert, absorbing water throughout the digestive system and easing defecation.

It acts by changing the nature of the contents of the gastrointestinal tract, and by changing how other nutrients and chemicals are absorbed. Soluble fibre absorbs water to become a gelatinous, viscous substance and is fermented by bacteria in the digestive tract.

Sources of fibre

Dietary fibre is found in plants. While all plants contain some fibre, plants with high fibre concentrations are generally the most practical source.

Some plants contain significant amounts of soluble and insoluble fibre. For example plums or prunes have a thick skin covering a juicy pulp. The plum's skin is an example of an insoluble fibre source, whereas soluble fibre sources are inside the pulp.

Soluble fiber is found in varying quantities in all plant foods, including:

Sources of insoluble fibre include:

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