The Role of Soluble and Insoluble Fiber

Heart Shaped Oatmeal

Fiber is an important part of the human diet.  Other than cleaning out the intestines, a lot of people don't really understand why that is, exactly.  Truth is, medical science isn't all that sure how that fiber makes people healthier, helps them lose weight, lowers their cholesterol.  They understand pieces of the puzzle but not the entire process.  The intestines, both large and small, are enormously complex engines that employ not just human cells, but a whole world, an ecosystem, of micro-organisms to do what they do. 

When restoring your good health, fiber plays an important role in your ecosystem, and one of the things that we can add or not add to impact the whole body.  What medical science does know, is that it does makes the body healthier to add fiber to it.  Soluble and insoluble fiber are two forms of fiber, and most foods that contain fiber have more of one than of the other.  Adding the right kind of fiber can help the body in specific ways, and it helps to understand what they do to get the desired effect.

Soluble fiber absorbs water.  Foods that are heavy in soluble fiber include oatmeal, beans, and apples.  It is heart protective because it helps control cholesterol by binding to it and drawing it out of the body.  It doesn't contribute to blood sugar spikes, so it is a good thing for diabetics to choose.  It helps with weight loss because it helps with feelings of fullness without adding a lot of calories.  It, of course, helps soften and bulk up stools, which makes stool easier to pass, but also helps with diarrhea.

Insoluble fiber is mostly seeds and skins of fruit and vegetables.  Whole wheat and brown rice also contains a great deal of it.  It is best for weight loss and digestive health, adding a more mechanical action, by providing bulk in the stomach, increasing feelings of fullness, and bulk in the intestines, keeping things moving smoothly.  


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