If you haven't heard by now, fiber is good for our health.
And, like many other topics, there is a lot of information to sort through. I've done the sorting and here are the main points I think are most helpful to understand for optimal health regarding fiber.
OK, so what is fiber?
Fiber is a non-digestable carbohydrate. It's the stuff that adds structure to a plant (think whole grains, legumes, nuts and fruits and vegetables).
Now, there are 2 categories of fiber based off how it acts inside our body: soluble and insoluble fiber.
- Soluble fiber can help lower our cholesterol.
- Insoluble fiber helps to bulk up our stool and keep our digestive tracks moving.
We need both types in our diet.
Soluble fiber absorbs water, becomes like a gel and acts "sponge-like." Since this type of fiber absorbs water it bulks up our stool which then helps the intestinal muscles to move and push things along. This is why it helps to reduce cholesterol- it grabs the fat and get's rid of it!
Be sure to drink enough water, though, because you'll need some extra fluids to help soluble fiber do it's job. Lack of water in combination with soluble fiber could leave you constipated. Actually, if you're experiencing the opposite issue of loose
stool, a little soluble fiber could really help you out!
Insoluble fiber is probably the type that people think to be most common. It's found mostly in wheat bran, oat bran, my friend flax seed and whole grains. This type of fiber acts like a scrub to our large intestine, scraping along the intestinal tract.
However, there is some bad news. Read more about fiber at: http://missfitcomplete.com/blog/2012/05/03/fiber-it/