Insoluble Dietary Fibre
Insoluble dietary fibre can not be broken down by our body. Instead, this type of fibre moves swiftly through our digestive system taking the rest of our food with it. This process helps to move food faster through our body, increases digestive comfort, and makes for larger and bulkier stools that are easier to pass. This type of fibre helps to keep us regular and avoid the detriments and discomforts of constipation. The bulking properties of insoluble fibre, also help to fill us up and satisfy our hunger for longer, and this helps to control our appetite.
Insoluble dietary fibre is found in the cell wall of most plants and plant products. It's also referred to as cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin.
Sources of Insoluble Dietary Fibre
Soluble Dietary Fibre
Soluble fibre is still not wholly digested by our body, but it is soluble in water. This means it will absorb water and form a soft-gel like product, and this ‘gel’ has many benefits in our body. Firstly, it helps to slow the digestion, and therefore, the absorption of sugars into our blood. This results in more consistent blood glucose and blood insulin levels, better sustained energy, and reduced sugar cravings. Secondly, soluble fibre can help to reduce our blood cholesterol, or the unfavorable LDL fats in our blood stream. The gel binds with cholesterol in our intestine and this prevents it from entering our blood stream and hence, raising our blood cholesterol levels. Instead, the LDL’s are excreted from our body via our stools.
Soluble fibre also promotes the production of healthy bacteria in our digestive system. This makes soluble fibre a prebiotic. These good bacteria can then feed on the soluble fibre and this causes fermentation. Fermentation of soluble dietary fibre produces two things: gas, explaining why some sources of this fibre can give us flatulence, and Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFA). These SCFA can have many positive effects inside our body; they can help in the control of insulin production and the stabilization of our blood sugar levels; they can help reduce the amount of LDL cholesterol in our blood; and they can also promote our digestive health and may reduce our chances of colon cancer.
Soluble fibre can also be referred to as gums and gels. They are found in a variety of plant foods.