You all know what fiber is and how beneficial it is for the body’s supply. But we may not be very aware of the number of types of fiber and their possible food sources. Fiber is a non-digestible part of plant material that comes in two forms, soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber is easily digestible by the body because it dissolves in water and gastrointestinal fluids in the stomach and intestines. Eventually, it turns into a gel-like substance that bacteria digest in the intestines and release few calories and gas. On the contrary, insoluble fiber is indigestible because it does not dissolve in water. As a result, they stay the same while moving through the tract and therefore don’t release any calories.
So after getting a feel for what fiber is, we can now switch to different types of fiber that we get from other sources.
8 different types of fibers
It is an insoluble fiber present in the plant walls. It is found in vegetables like broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and cabbage and is also found in legumes, nuts, and bran. In addition, the cellulose component promotes the growth of good gut bacteria, which keeps the digestive system healthy.
Food sources of cellulose:
Also read: Foods rich in fiber
It is a soluble fiber in the form of a gel that is fermentable by intestinal bacteria. It is considered a prebiotic, providing good gut bacteria. It helps manage blood sugar levels due to the delayed and slowed transit time in the intestines. For beta-glucan intake, you can take.
Food sources of beta-glucan:
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Reishi mushrooms
Inulin is one of the soluble fibers that keeps your stomach full for longer as it is slowly digested by the body. Its process of absorbing sugar slowed down in food prevents spikes in blood sugar. However, inulin remains unabsorbed in the stomach and promotes the growth of beneficial flora that improves gastrointestinal health.
Food sources of inulin:
Pectins are another type of soluble fiber. In addition, it reduces the glycemic response of food, glucose absorption, blood sugar spikes. They are good for the metabolism of our gut bacteria, and soluble fiber can lower cholesterol by flushing fatty acids out of the body.
Food sources of pectins:
- Citrus fruits
Read also: LDL and HDL cholesterol
When you count on the number of fiber types, psyllium is another soluble fiber that helps relieve constipation by softening the poop to help it pass. Psyllium itself is the dietary source of fiber from the outer shell of the seeds of psyllium plants.
Sources of psyllium:
Lignin is an insoluble fiber that has chemical branches called phenol. It is present in the structural part of the cell wall of plants – insoluble fiber in lignin helps reduce the risk of Colon Cancer. While the exact mechanism is currently unknown, one theory is the digestive tract.
Food sources of lignin:
7. Resistant starch
It is soluble fiber that helps feed the good bacteria in the gut. This starch passes from the large intestine, through the immune system and the microflora which protects against any pathogenic bacteria that can cause problems in Gastrointestinal tract. It also helps in weight loss by controlling appetite and blood sugar spikes.
Food sources of resistant starch:
- Unripe bananas
Also read: How to improve gut health
8. Wheat dextrin
Wheat dextrin is a soluble fiber, also known as Benefiber, a by-product of wheat starch widely used in the food industries. However, it is tasteless but has such beneficial aspects as aiding digestion, lowering cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease, and controlling blood sugar.
The intake of insufficient amount of fiber is very beneficial for the human body. Nonetheless, if you are having gastrointestinal issues, you may need to see your doctor first and then decide what types of fiber you need to add to your routine diet.