Be healthy … mind – body – spirit

Soluble & Insoluble Fiber: What’s the difference?

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We all know we need to eat fiber each day to keep us “moving”. The elimination process  (a.k.a. pooping)  is critical to our health. If you are constipated, then the toxins that should be leaving your body get reabsorbed and recirculated. UGH!

So what exactly is fiber?  Fiber comes from plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts, and legumes. It’s a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest. Unlike starches and sugars, which are the other types of carbohydrates, fiber contributes no calories, or food energy. Instead of being broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream, fiber simply passes through the entire digestive tract.

Why is this important? High fiber foods support bowel regularity which helps to eliminate toxins and excess estrogen, helps maintain normal cholesterol levels, helps maintain normal blood sugar levels and helps to keep weight off.

There are two types of fiber: Soluble Fiber and Insoluble Fiber. Each play a role in promoting health.

SOLUBLE FIBERS attract water and form 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 may also affect blood sugar levels and have a beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity, which may help control diabetes. Soluble fibers can also help lower LDL (“bad”) blood cholesterol by interfering with the absorption of dietary cholesterol.

Sources of soluble fiber include flaxseeds, oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, some fruits and vegetables, and psyllium.

INSOLUBLE FIBERS have a laxative effect and add bulk to the diet, helping to prevent constipation. Insoluble fibers do not dissolve in water, so they pass through the digestive tract relatively intact, and speed up the passage of food and waste through your gut.

Sources of insoluble fiber include wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains.

A diet high in fiber plays a role in the prevention and / or treatment of breast cancer, colon cancer, constipation, high cholesterol, irritable bowl syndrome, and obesity.

Make sure you’re getting an adequate amount of both soluble and insoluble fiber each day!

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