Benefits of Fiber

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Before we can talk about the benefits of fiber, we must first define what it is. Fiber is the indigestible part of the plants that we eat. It is not broken down in our stomachs, but instead travels through our bodies undigested.

Learn more about the two main types of fiber, the benefits of each, and good sources of fiber in the written sections below.

The Difference Between Soluble and Insoluble Fiber:

  • Soluble dissolves in water. This type can attract water to form a gel.
  • Insoluble does not dissolve in water.This type often speeds up transit time during the digestion process.

The Benefits of Fiber

The benefits of fiber depend on the type, though both are very beneficial!

Because soluble fiber can form a gel, it often slows down the digestive process, making your stomach empty more slowly (delayed gastric emptying). This slowing process can help regulate blood sugar levels. The gelling can also can make you feel more full (increased satiety). It can also interfer with the absorption of dietary cholesterol, helping to lower cholesterol levels.
Insoluble fiber decreases the time it takes for food and waste to travel through your gut. It adds bulk and can have a laxative effect on your body. You can think of this type like a broom, helping to sweep food and waste through your intestines and colon more quickly.

Good Sources of Fiber:

Fiber comes from plant sources, and many plants contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. Eat whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables as great sources of this nutritent, as well as many other  valuable nutrients.

Good Sources of Soluble Fiber:

  • Oatmeal and oat cereal
  • Barley
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Nuts
  • Flaxseed
  • Psyllium husk (found in many fiber supplements)
  • Carrots
  • Plums

Good Sources of Insoluble Fiber:

  • Whole Wheat
  • Corn
  • Nuts
  • Potato Skins
  • Apple Skins
  • Raisins (grapes)
  • Plum Skins
  • Dark Leafy Vegetables
  • Seeds
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions
  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli

By eating a variety of plant-based foods daily (like fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds) you’ll be able to give your body the full benefits of soluble and insoluble fiber!

 

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