Sometimes, we feel like our bowels aren’t going right. It’s a bit embarrassing to discuss, but you can be safe here. I will do the talking. My son has said that I can talk for an hour to anybody about anything, so here goes.
There are two kinds of fiber – soluble (which dissolves in water and becomes a gel like substance in your colon, or it draws water to itself and puffs up) and insoluble (which doesn’t dissolve in water – it stays as you ate it). Both forms of fiber have health benefits, and many fiber rich foods have some of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber lowers fat absorption and prevents some fats from being absorbed. It slows down the digestion rate of other nutrients, including carbohydrates. This means that meals containing soluble fiber are less likely to cause sharp spikes in blood sugar levels and may actually prevent them. This may help stabilize your blood sugar levels.
Soluble fiber can help lower cholesterol levels by preventing some of the dietary fats and cholesterol from being absorbed. So, soluble fiber can reduce your risk of heart disease and other circulatory conditions. Some soluble fibers can feed the bacteria in your GI tract and help balance them. And since soluble fiber absorbs water, your stool is larger and softer.
Insoluble fiber also helps prevent constipation. It sits in the GI tract, absorbs some fluid, and latches onto other end products of digestion. It speeds up the movement and processing of your stool, and helps prevent a GI blockage.
Insoluble fiber helps reduce your risk of diverticular diseases; it clears the small diverticula in the colon as it passes, and reduces the risk of small folds and infections.
With more fiber, you will feel fuller and more satisfied after meals, and for a longer time. A high fiber diet can lower the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic syndrome. By making you feel more full after meals, it can help you follow your food plan more easily.
Many fiber rich foods are also good sources of B vitamins and iron.
Most Americans don’t eat enough of either fiber. Most health authorities recommend between 25 and 35 total grams per day. The average intake is about 15 grams per day. As you remove many of the high-fat, high-calorie processed foods, and choose a whole foods diet, rich with fresh fruits and vegetables, you will naturally increase your fiber intake and enjoy the benefits.
According to the FDA, foods that are considered high in fiber contain at least 20 percent of the recommended daily value (DV) of dietary fiber per serving. Foods that have 5 percent or less are considered poor sources of dietary fiber. A healthful diet contains a mix of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fibers are more common in foods, such as beans, peas, oats, barley, apples and citrus fruits. Good sources of insoluble fiber include beans, whole wheat or bran products, green beans, potatoes, cauliflowers, and nuts
Many of these foods are those you already enjoy. But try something new and I hope you find a new high fiber food to enjoy.
Blessings to you.