Dietary fiber – found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes – comes with numerous health benefits, such as helping to maintain a healthy weight and lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease. It also helps us to feel more satisfied after eating and this prevents over-indulging Dietary fiber cannot be digested or absorbed. Fiber is known as an anti-nutrient as it isn’t digested by your body. Instead, it passes relatively intact through your stom- ach, small intestine and colon and out of your body. Importantly, fiber minimizes absorption of carbohydrates, with the result being lower insulin and blood glucose levels. A few cultures continue to eat diets high in carbohydrates, but these are often unprocessed and rich in fiber. As such, these people are able to maintain a healthier body weight than those who eat processed carbohydrates.
When it was first found that fiber is an anti-nutrient, researchers were alarmed and saw it as a negative trait. Cereal manufacturers in the 19th century set to work on developing technology where they could create cereals that contained little to zero dietary fiber. As the years passed, though, researchers found that anti-nutrients are actually beneficial. For example, they limit our body’s absorption of carbohydrates and can prevent chronic diseases. Prebiotic foods are getting a lot of attention at the moment. Essentially these are fermented ingredients which alter the composition of your gut’s bacteria in a posi- tive way. Prebiotic foods improve your health, and are a subset of dietary fibers. Leeks, onions and garlic are good sources.