Fiber Is Good for You. Now Scientists May Know Why. - The New York Times
... our bodies make a limited range of enzymes, so that we cannot break down many of the tough compounds in plants. The term “dietary fiber” refers to those indigestible molecules.
But they are indigestible only to us. The gut is coated with a layer of mucus, atop which sits a carpet of hundreds of species of bacteria, part of the human #microbiome. Some of these microbes carry the enzymes needed to break down various kinds of dietary fiber.
The ability of these bacteria to survive on fiber we can’t digest ourselves has led many experts to wonder if the #microbes are somehow involved in the benefits of the fruits-and-vegetables diet. Two detailed studies published recently in the journal Cell Host and Microbe provide compelling evidence that the answer is yes.