Health benefits of good fiberPublished 5:52pm Wednesday, November 21, 2012
As a nutritionist, it’s not only my job to ensure my clients make progress, but to educate them on how to get the most out of their health and wellness program.
One part of a healthy diet I teach them about is fiber.
Just what is fiber, and why do we need it? Dietary fiber is also known as roughage. It includes all parts of plant stuffs that our bodies can’t digest. Proteins, fats and carbohydrates are all broken down and absorbed by our bodies. Fiber remains intact as it passes from the stomach, through the small and large intestines.
Fiber is usually put into one of two categories. Soluble fiber, (fiber that dissolves in water) and insoluble fiber (fiber that doesn’t dissolve in water.) Soluble fiber becomes gel-like once it absorbs water. This type of fiber is found in apples, barley, peas, carrots, citrus fruits, oats, pears, plums, black beans, navy beans, northern and pinto beans, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Soluble fiber helps lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels. Lowered blood glucose levels help reduce the risk of developing type II diabetes. Lower cholesterol levels help reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease.
Insoluble fiber creates bulk, and helps movement of materials through the digestive system. It’s beneficial to those who battle with constipation. This type of fiber is found in nuts, wheat bran, whole wheat flour, corn bran, green beans, potatoes with the skins, legumes and cauliflower. As a rule, vegetables have more insoluble fiber and fruits have more soluble fiber.