What Is Vegetable Cellulose? [Hidden in these foods…]

What Is Vegetable Cellulose

I’ve recently heard that vegetable cellulose can be good for you.

But, I wasn’t exactly sure what it is.

Since I studied chemistry at university I figured I’d be able to work it out so I did a bit of research to find out what it is.

Vegetable cellulose is an organic compound that has the chemical formula (C6H10O5)n,.

It is a combination of various atoms that can be isolated using chemistry practices.

It is the most abundant organic compound on earth, and makes up a large percentage of the cell walls of plants.

The health benefits of vegetable cellulose are well documented but it’s kind of abstract to figure out what it is and why it’s beneficial.

So below I will explain the benefits of cellulose, what foods are high in cellulose, what vegetable cellulose capsules are, and why it’s good for you.

What Foods Are High in Cellulose?

What Foods Are High in Cellulose

Various foods are higher in cellulose than others. Here’s what foods are high in cellulose:

Overall, leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, and cabbage are high in cellulose.

Root vegetables such as turnips and carrots are also high in cellulose.

Cellulose a fractionation of fiber.

Foods that are high in fiber, generally, contain 5% to 20% cellulose.

Fractionation is a scientific word that means ‘a component of’.

To fractionate something in chemistry means to split it apart. For example, in chemical reactions molecules can be isolated.

The easiest example to explain fractionation is to look at table salt, which has the chemical formula NaCl.

When salt is added to water and mixed the salt dissolves into the water, and is no longer in its solid form.

To fractionate water dissolved in salt, the water can be heated so that it evaporates and the salt is left behind.

Since cellulose is a fractionation of fiber, here’s a table of leafy green vegetables, root vegetables, and vegetables high in fiber:

Foods high in cellulose:

Leafy green vegetables Root vegetables Foods that have the highest fiber
Kale Turnips Navy beans
Mustard greens Carrots Whole wheat pasta
Swiss chard Ginger Avocado
Rocket (arugula) Garlic Acorn squash
Turnip greens Turmeric Broccoli
Dandelion greens Onion Who
Lettuce Radish Peas
Spinach Fennel Oranges
Cabbage Beetroot Sweet potatoes
Silverbeet Parsnips
Cress Artichoke
Watercress Spring onion

Some argue that potatoes, sweet potatoes (yams), and cassava are root vegetables.

They do indeed grow in the roots of the plant but they grow off the stems.

So, technically they aren’t root vegetables.

However, they are quite high in fiber, which contains cellulose and sweet potatoes are some of the highest fiber foods.

Foods that are high in vegetable cellulose are any vegetables that are high in fiber.

As well as, any other leafy green vegetables, and root vegetables according to a scientific book titled ‘Diet and Health: Implications for Reducing Chronic Disease Risk’.

Therefore, foods that are high in fiber are high in cellulose but not necessarily vegetable cellulose.

Since fiber is 5% to 20% cellulose on average according to this study.

Here’s a table where they isolated cellulose in various common vegetables to give you a rough idea of the cellulose content in vegetables:

Vegetable Percentage of the vegetable/fruit that is cellulose
Carrots 10.01%
Tomatoes 8.60%
Cucumbers 16.13%
Apples 8.81%

Due to the complexity and the amount of time it takes to isolate the cellulose and measure it.

And the fact that the study also isolated many other compounds they unfortunately did not gather data for a large range of vegetables.

Fiber is present in grains such as wheat bread.

However, vegetable cellulose is different in that it only comes from vegetables.

Many people wonder what legumes are because it’s not a word that’s commonly used in everyday speech.

I explained what legumes are, as well as, how they differ from grains in this article about the difference between legumes and grains.

Is Vegetable Cellulose Good for You?

Is Vegetable Cellulose Good for You

Vegetable cellulose is a component that makes up fiber.

So, I was wondering if it’s good for you.

I looked into what medical professionals have to say and here’s the answer.

Vegetable cellulose is good for you.

Vegetable cellulose and cellulose, in general, do not contain any nutrients or energy.

It instead helps the digestive system, which improves the absorption of nutrients and minerals.

It also maintains healthy bowel function.

Cellulose is also good for you, in similar ways to vegetable cellulose.

The main difference is that vegetable cellulose comes from vegetables, whereas, other types of cellulose are found in other foods such as grains, and fruits.

What Are the Benefits of Cellulose?

What Are the Benefits of Cellulose

I was curious what the benefits of cellulose are, and whether I should focus on consuming more of it.

I looked into what medical professionals had to say and here’s the verdict.

Cellulose is good for your digestive system, heart function, and weight loss according to medical professionals.

Cellulose itself doesn’t provide nutrients, rather it binds readily to excess cholesterol and sugar as it passes through the digestive system, removing them from your body.

It also increases your uptake of other nutrients by freeing up surface area in your digestive system.

Medical professionals are generally in agreement that cellulose provides no other benefit than improving your digestive system.

Which in turn has many knock-on effects for the rest of the body.

Foods that are high in cellulose are also generally high in other beneficial nutrients.

And foods that are high in cellulose are generally fruits and vegetables.

But, also grains, which are the main ingredient in wholegrain bread, and wholewheat pasta.

In general, if you consume a diet that contains a good amount of fruits and vegetables you’ll be getting enough cellulose.

Some people wonder how many fruits and vegetables you should eat in a day.

Interestingly, around 5 servings of fruits and vegetables are good.

According to Harvard Medical School consuming 5 servings of fruits and vegetables is far better than consuming less.

And they have stated that people who consume 5 servings of fruits and vegetables compared to those that only consume 2 fruits and vegetables.

The study they quote monitored 2 million people over a 30 year period.

So, in my opinion, it’s very reliable data.

It showed that people who consume 5 servings of fruits and vegetables as compared to 2, are 10% less likely to develop serious health issues.

And were also 10% less likely to suffer a fatal illness over a 30 year period.

Do Bananas Contain Cellulose?

Do Bananas Contain Cellulose

Bananas are some of the most consumed fruits.

And cellulose is good for you.

So, you may be wondering whether bananas contain cellulose.

Here’s the answer:

Bananas contain cellulose.

Fruits and vegetables contain on average 5% to 15% cellulose.

Therefore, a medium-sized banana (100g) contains about 5g to 15g of cellulose.

But, this is just an estimate and no data is available specifically for bananas.

By comparison apples contain 8% cellulose.

Bananas, apples, and oranges are the most consumed fruits in the USA.

Whereas, for the whole world the most popular fruits differ.

But, apples, oranges, and bananas are still in the top 10 most popular fruits.

I explained how many fruits and vegetables there are, what the most popular fruits are and what the most hated fruits are in this article about how many fruits and vegetables there are.

Is Broccoli High In Cellulose?

Is Broccoli High In Cellulose

I love eating broccoli so I’m also curious whether broccoli is high in cellulose.

Here’s what I found based on scientific studies.

Broccoli is high in cellulose.

Broccoli has high fiber content, and cellulose is a fractionation of fiber.

Therefore, broccoli has a high amount of fiber.

No data is available on the exact percent of cellulose found in broccoli, however, fruits and vegetables contain around 5% to 10% cellulose.

Fiber and cellulose go hand in hand, and if food such as grains, vegetables, and fruit is high in fiber – spoiler alert – they all are.

Then, it is also high in cellulose. Fiber is a combination of:

  • Cellulose
  • Lignin
  • Pectin
  • Hemicellulose
  • Other polysaccharides

All of which make up what is called dietary fiber.

Together these form two groups, soluble, and insoluble fiber.

This means some of them can dissolve in water, and others don’t.

Both are good for your health.

Insoluble fiber does not break down in your digestive system.

As it goes through your digestive system it attracts excess cholesterol and sugar, which are removed as the cellulose leaves your body.

It’s inert and works as a cleaning mechanism for your digestive system.

It also cleans your digestive system mechanically, by moving and loosening anything in your digestive system.

Which allows your digestive system to remain regular and clean itself out easily and thoroughly.

Interestingly, not all cellulose is created equal.

Cellulose for sources such as bran, or wheat can have a certain positive impact on your body.

Whereas, cellulose from other sources has a different positive effect.

This gives further credence to the well known nutritionists’ advice which is to eat a varied and balanced diet.

Chris Watson

I'm the founder of EatForLonger.Com. I'm an enthusiast researching and sharing foodstuff and lifestyle based insights. Simple food based concepts for optimising your Healthspan, nutrition and all-round well-being. I hope it inspires you to make tiny changes and add some life to your years. Read more About Me here

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