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Why is dietary fiber important?

Though indigestible in humans, dietary fiber is important physiologically. It is found in vegetables, fruits and grains. It has a special property of soaking water and consequently swells up. Thus, dietary fiber prevents constipation.

People who are habitually constipated benefit from taking fresh fruits and vegetables (in the form of salads etc.) with every meal. Also, ready-made preparations of vegetable fibers (isabgol) are proven remedy for chronic constipation.

Dietary fiber is mainly non-starch polysaccharide. Animals like cow (and other herbivores) can digest it to produce energy. In humans, most of it is undigestible, but some dietary fibers are degraded by the bacteria in our large intestines into sugars! This is of negligible amount, though.

Since dietary fiber forms bulk of the meal while giving no calories at all, it can also help in losing weight. Keep your diet high in dietary fiber. That way, your appetite will be satiated with less calories.

Dietary fiber has been proven to reduce the risk of cancers of the gastrointestinal tract, particularly cancer of the large intestine.

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This page last updated on:
October 15, 2003