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First Posted Dec 27, 2008
Jul 30, 2010

Fiber

by Debora Johnson

Just what does it mean when you hear there should be more fiber in your diet? You see the number of grams in fiber on packaging lables of foods that you buy. Legumes, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables are sources of fiber. Fiber is really important because it helps to normalize your blood sugar, helps improve cholesterol levels--both good (HDL) and bad (LDL), it helps you in the regulation of your digestive system, it is helpful (if eaten properly) in weight reduction, and fiber fills you up and cuts down on hunger. It can be very helpful in your quest to lose weight. Research tells us that we should eat between 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day.

It is important to understand the different types of fiber. There are basically two forms of fiber. Some fiber is "soluble" and some is "insoluble." What does that mean?

Types of Fiber: Soluble Fiber and Insoluble Fiber

Interestingly enough both soluble and insoluble fiber are undigested. Consequently, they are not absorbed into the bloodstream. Fiber is not used as energy, but rather, fiber is excreted from our bodies. Soluble fiber can be mixed with a liquid and it will form a gel type substance. Insoluble fiber does not mix with a liquid. Insoluble fiber passes through our intestines largely intact. Sometimes you will hear fiber referred to as "bulk."

Soluble Fiber

  • Binds with fatty acids
  • Increases the time it takes for the stomach to empty
  • Causes sugar to be released and absorbed at a slower rate
  • Lowers total cholesterol
  • Lowers bad cholesterol (LDL)
  • Helps to reduce heart disease
  • Helps to regulate blood sugar

What Foods Have Soluble Fiber?

  • Oats and oat bran
  • Rye
  • Chia
  • Barley
  • Legumes: Dried beans, soy beans, peas, other beans, lentils, quinoa
  • Dried peas
  • Nuts
  • Flax
  • Soluble fiber from psyllium husk with purity of no less than 95%
  • Fruits: Oranges, apples, plums, prunes, prune juice, berries, apricots, apricot juice and many more
  • Root Vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions (skins of these vegetables are insoluble fiber)
  • Vegetables: Broccoli, carrots, Jerusalem artichokes and many more.

Insoluble Fiber

  • Moves bulk trough the intestines
  • Controls pH (acidity) in the intestines
  • Promotes regular bowel movements
  • Helps prevent constipation
  • Helps to remove toxic wastes more rapidly in the colon
  • Reduces risk of colon cancer

What Foods Have Insoluble Fiber?

  • Vegetables: Green beans, dark green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, zucchini (Courgette) and celery
  • Root vegetable skins such as potato skins and onion skins
  • Fruit skins such as apple skins, plum skins, tomato skins, etc.
  • Whole wheat products
  • Seeds
  • Nuts
  • Oat products

It is of interest to note that most foods contain both soluble and insoluble fibers.

The 5 Most Fiber Rich Plant Foods

"The five most fiber-rich plant foods, according to the Micronutrient Center of the Linus Pauling Institute, are legumes (15-19 grams of fiber per US cup serving, including several types of beans, lentils and peas), wheat bran (17 grams per cup), prunes (12 grams), Asian pear (10 grams each, 3.6% by weight), and quinoa (9 grams).

Remarkable among plant foods, the Amazonian palmberry, açai (Euterpe oleracea Mart.), has been analyzed by two research groups reporting its content of dietary fiber is 25-44% of total mass in freeze-dried powder.

Rubus fruits such as raspberry (8 grams of fiber per serving) and blackberry (7.4 grams of fiber per serving) are exceptional sources of fiber."

Dietary Fiber

The material on this web site is provided for informational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always check with your doctor.

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