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Soluble Versus Insoluble Fiber: Which of these types of works best?

Hillary Marshall

Eating a high fiber diet yields a multitude of benefits. Dietary fiber from fruits, vegetable and grains is an essential element to a healthy diet. Adding fiber to your diet can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, diverticular disease and can also improve digestion and digestive issues. Fiber has also been known to aid in weight loss, because it helps fill you up thus reducing your appetite. There are two types of dietary fibre, soluble and insoluble. Knowing which of these types of fiber will work best for you is key to reaping the health benefits associated with fiber intake.

Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber partially dissolves in water, which is what makes it different from insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber works primarily, because it takes longer to digest and gives sugar time to be absorbed slowly. Soluble fiber comes from oatmeal, oat bran, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, apples, pears, strawberries, blueberries, dried peas, legumes, barley, flax seed, oranges, carrots and psyllium husk. If you are concerned with your cardiovascular health or you have diabetes, consuming soluble fiber daily will benefit you most. Psyllium husk is also used for people suffering from chronic constipation. Psyllium husk is a gentle bulking agent that works slowly to relieve constipation.

Insoluble Fiber

Insoluble fiber does not absorb water and for the most part moves through our intestines undigested. Insoluble fiber is beneficial to our bodies, because it does not digest. It is recommended to many for increasing regularity, thus reducing both constipation and excessive diarrhea. Insoluble fiber also removes toxins through the colon more quickly and possibly decreases the risk of colon cancer, because it maintains the pH in the intestines. Sources of insoluble fiber would include green beans, dark leafy vegetables, corn bran, wheat oat, whole wheat, fruit skins, tomatoes, seeds and root vegetable skins.

Daily Intake

Many foods contain both insoluble and soluble fiber. Foods like oat, oat bran, psyllium husk and flax seed will provide either/or. The daily fiber intake recommendation is between twenty five grams and thirty five grams. Fiber should be increased slowly to avoid constipation, bloating and excessive gas. Additionally, when increasing fiber you should make sure you drink at least eight cups of water daily. There are many ways to increase your fiber intake. Start by eating more unpeeled fruits. Fruits don’t just contain fiber, they have vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so they are an excellent addition to your diet regardless. Vegetables are an excellent low calorie choice for increasing your fiber intake and they also provide a plethora of additional health benefits. Consume breads made from whole wheat. Check the ingredient label of the bread to ensure that it does not contain white flour. Lastly, try a fiber supplement. Stay away from fiber pills if possible and look for powders that can mixed with water. Don’t forget to read the labels on your food to ensure you are getting the correct portion size of your fiber source.

Related Reading: See Resistant Starch - Why You Can't Get It From Diet Alone

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