Discover The Benefits Of Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber represents one half the team known commonly as fiber. Together with insoluble dietary fiber, it has many important functions. We’ll cover some of the benefits of soluble dietary fiber in this article, how it works in our body, the importance of good bowel bacteria in relation to it, and some surprising sources of insoluble fiber.

Fiber has been studied well enough in relation to disease prevention that the FDA has approved health claims about the cardiovascular benefits of fiber from diet. Foods or products that naturally have 0.6g of soluble fiber per amount referenced qualify for this claim. This highlights how important soluble fiber is in relation to insoluble.

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Other benefits of soluble fiber are that it may help lower blood cholesterol levels, assist those with non-insulin dependent diabetes, as well as people with inflammatory bowel disorders (such as colitis), or diarrhea, and constipation. Whilst it may seem contradictory that one thing can help with the opposite problems of constipation and diarrhea, soluble fiber does this by acting as a regulatory mechanism. It forms a gel in your system, including your bowels, which makes it difficult for substances (such as fructooligosaccharides) to get into your intestines.

Soluble fiber has an interesting characteristic in that it is fermented in the colon. This isn’t necessarily good news if you’re lactose intolerant, since soluble fiber is almost completely insoluble so you can’t consume large quantities and you’re much more prone to getting diarrhea and lactose digestion problems.

You can find soluble fiber in foods like wholegrain breads, oats, barley, beans, fruits, vegetables and barley. It’s also found in many dairy products, including low-fat milk, cheese, sour cream, ice cream, scrambled egg whites, tomato products, black beans, pinto beans, split peas, figs and dates. Soluble fiber may help lower blood cholesterol levels, or help keep things “moving.” As Harvard’s Dr. David Jenkins puts it, soluble fiber “may be therier of the two types of fiber, with soluble fiber transmitting the benefits, particularly to diabetes, with insoluble fiber doing the leaking.”

Insoluble fiber, likewise, may also be a surprising source of health benefits. In one study, people who had more of this fiber in their systems weighed less than their counterparts who didn’t have enough. Yet another study found that more people who ate more fiber also ate fewer calories.

The Skinny on insoluble fiber

Insoluble fiber has been found to offer cardiovascular benefits, lower BMI (body mass index) and loss of weight. As you can imagine, the emerging science is a mixed bag. However, there is enough promising research about this ingredient to consider adding foods that contain it to your regular diet.

At this point, the only way you can truly benefit from soluble fiber is by drinking more water. It’s unfortunate that so many Americans have switched to sugary soda and junk food that, despite the veneer of “having a healthy alternative,” is terrible for you and your health.

Here’s a list of foods that contain this particular type of fiber:

• Lentils

• Oats

• Barley

• Rye

• Fruits, like apples, pears, and bananas

• Vegetables like carrots, potatoes, and green beans

If you’re not sure where to start, head straight to the cupboards and refrigerator. Look for oat bran muffins, reduced-fat plain oatmeal and multigrain bread. Indeed, include these foods in your daily diet and you can maximize your benefits from fiber.

However, you should also know that just because a food is called “high fiber” or “complex,” that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily healthy. In some cases, fibre can even be a double whammy, since so many foods with this profile also contain a lot of calories.

Lastly, you can also consider adding supplemental fiber to your diet. But before you do, it’s important to remember that this supplemental form is not a quick fix. Adding supplements to your diet can in fact be detrimental to your health, as they generally contain more chemicals and not enough fiber to speak of. Look for a more holistic approach to a healthy, balanced lifestyle.

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