Fiber

Fiber is an amazing nutrient that

  • Aids in weight loss
  • Benefits weight management
  • Lowers blood sugar levels
  • Decreases cholesterol
  • Reduces cancer risk
  • Reduces heart disease risk
  • Reduces diabetes risk
  • Aids in controlling diabetes
  • Decreases inflammation
  • Prevents Hemorrhoids
  • Prevents Appendicitis

Fiber takes longer to digest because it is a complex carbohydrate with unique chemical bonds. The complexity aids in decreasing the glycemic load and increasing metabolism because the body has to work harder to digest it and thus releases the food slower throughout the body.   Food high in fiber is filling due its chemical properties.  Thus, eating more high fiber foods will result in feeling full, causing a person to eat less and maintain or lose weight.  Soluble fiber binds with bile and cholesterol causing less to be absorbed into the blood stream.  By absorbing cholesterol, there is a decreased amount circulating throughout the body, decreasing the chance of heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol.  Soluble fiber also slows down digestion, which decreases the rate that glucose is released into the blood stream.  By having a steady release of glucose into the blood, there is a decrease of the release of insulin.  This decreases diabetes risk and aids in the management of diabetes because there is slowed glucose release.  Fiber prevents colon cancer by decreasing the amount of food residue left in the large intestine.  Also, foods that have fiber in them have nutrients that aid in the prevention of colon cancer.  By increasing smooth movements through the colon, fiber decreases the likelihood of hemorrhoids. The likelihood of appendicitis is decreased by moving food and harmful bacteria through the colon efficiently.

There are two main types of fibers.  Below is a list their differences in soluble and insoluble fiber:

 

Soluble Insoluble
Dissolve in water Does not dissolve in water
Can form gels (viscous) Cannot form gels
Easily digested by the bacteria in the colon (fermentable) Not fermentable

 

Binds bile, which decreases cholesterol Increases satiety
Slows glucose absorption Increase fecal weight
Decreases speed through GI tract Speeds up fecal passage through large intestine
Soften stool by holding onto moisture and fat molecules for energy Helps with healthy bowels movements, alleviates constipation
Protects against heart disease Protects against diverticular disease
Protects against diabetes Lowers risks of hemorrhoids
  Lower risk of appendicitis

 

Where its found:

Soluble Insoluble
Grains: Barley, oats, rye Grains: Wheat Bran, Brown Rice
Fruits: Apples, citrus fruits Fruits
Vegetables Vegetables: Cabbage, carrots, Brussels sprouts
Legumes Legumes
Seeds Seeds

 

As you can see in almost all these foods listed there is both soluble and insoluble in them.

Fiber rich foods are important part of any healthy diet.

References:

Understanding Normal and Clinical Nutrition, Whitney, Cataldo, Rolfes, Ninth Edition ISBN 0-534-62208-9 by Thompson Wadsworth

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