Sometimes when folks add more veggies and fiber-filled foods to their plate, their digestive system doesn’t cooperate very well and uncomfortable physical issues crop up. These not-so-awesome bathroom trips and embarrassing gassy moments have given fiber a bad name. But fiber really is your friend — you just have to get to know it a little better and learn a few simple fiber guidelines. Today, I hope to mend any grudges you have against fiber and show you how to live in harmony with it.
C’mon, give fiber a chance!
What is fiber?
Quite simply, fiber is plant roughage — the part of veggies, fruits, beans, grains, nuts and seeds that resists digestion. So why would you go out of your way to eat things that just come out anyway? For precisely that reason. Fiber helps clean out your digestive system and get rid of things (namely extra hormones, cholesterol, toxins and waste) that shouldn’t be there.
Fiber also provides a plethora of other health benefits, including proper colon health and intestinal bacterial balance. In addition, fiber-rich foods are essential for a strong immune system, faster metabolism, and weight control, diabetes and cardiovascular disease prevention, beautiful skin and better overall health.
Are you beginning to see why I’m so passionate about fiber?
What’s the difference between soluble & insoluble fiber?
Insoluble fiber has a laxative effect and is found in fruit and vegetable skins, wheat, wheat bran, rye and rice. It doesn’t readily dissolve in water, so it adds to fecal bulk (poop mass). It’s crucial for hearty, healthy bowel movements, which should be excreted at least once or twice a day.
Soluble fiber absorbs liquid, swells and is readily digested by intestinal bacteria. It ferments and produces gases in the digestive tract. I know this doesn’t sound so sexy, but it’s very important for colon health. Soluble fiber creates a feeling of fullness and is the kind of fiber responsible for lowering LDL “lousy” cholesterol. You have to look a little harder for soluble fiber in the diet, but champions include chia seeds, flax seeds, oats, oat bran, barley, beans, lentils, psyllium and most fruits — especially berries.