Eat More Fiber

There are two types of fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Both soluble and insoluble fiber are undigested. They are not absorbed into the bloodstream. Instead of being used for energy, fiber is excreted from your body. Soluble fiber forms a gel when mixed with liquid, while insoluble fiber does not. Insoluble fiber is good for the GI tract and can help prevent colon cancer. It adds bulk to the diet, helping prevent constipation. Since insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, it passes through the gastrointestinal tract relatively intact, and speeds up the passage of food and waste through your gut.  Therefore, it helps remove toxic waste through colon in less time. Insoluble fibers are mainly found in whole grains and vegetables. Sources include: whole wheat, whole grains, wheat bran, corn bran, seeds, nuts, barley, couscous, brown rice, bulgur, zucchini, celery, broccoli, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, dark leafy vegetables, raisins, grapes, fruit, and root vegetable skins. On the other hand,soluble fiber attracts water and forms a gel, which slows down digestion.  Soluble fiber delays the emptying of your stomach and makes you feel full, which helps control weight. Slower stomach emptying can also help blood sugar levels and have a beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity, which may help control diabetes. Soluble fibers can also help lower LDL (bad) cholesterol by interfering with the absorption of dietary cholesterol. This is a good way to help lower your cholesterol levels naturally.  There are many good sources of soluble fiber including: oatmeal, oat cereal, lentils, apples, oranges, pears, oat bran, strawberries, nuts, flaxseeds, beans, dried peas, blueberries, psyllium, cucumbers, celery, and carrots. Eating enough fiber is important to your health! The recommended intake of fiber is at least 25 g per day. Make sure you increase your fiber intake slowly to avoid excessive gas/GI upset.

 

Author: drjeffgreenberg

Dr Greenberg is a clinical cardiologist who specializes in preventive cardiology, nutrition, exercise, and longevity. He favors using natural methods to improving one's health.

2 thoughts on “Eat More Fiber”

  1. Both fibers sound beneficial. Is that true or is there one you should aim for over the other?? I’ve found that no matter what I do to it, short of dousing it in sugar or maple syrup, I just can’t get used to eating real oatmeal. Ugh!!

    1. Both types of fiber are important. Insoluble fiber will help prevent constipation and colon cancer. Soluble fiber will help lower your cholesterol naturally. Both lower the glycemic index of your meals and help prevent blood sugar spikes. How about fresh fruit on your oatmeal? Fresh strawberries, blueberries, or bananas are all good choices.

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