Seems like Fiber is IN lately, but what exactly is fiber?
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate found in plant products. I know carbohydrates are on the OUTS, but fiber is an important type of carbohydrate that is one of the keys to good health. There are two types based on water solubility. Soluble fiber dissolves in water, forms a gel-like material, and is found mainly in oats, apples, citrus, peas, barley, pectin, flaxseed, and beans. Insoluble fiber is found in whole wheat flour, wheat bran, cellulose, lignin, nuts, and many vegetables.
Did you know that Dietary Fiber can reduce cholesterol? Regular consumption can reduce cholesterol, specifically, LDL or low density lipoprotein cholesterol.
High levels of LDL can be a big risk factor in Cardiovascular disease, in particular coronary artery disease which is the leading cause of death in both men and women of all racial groups in the United States (Mayo Clin Proc. 2009 April; 84(4): 345–352).
However, it’s important to understand that the effects of fiber on blood cholesterol are not the same. Only soluble fiber can reduce cholesterol. Insoluble fiber has not been shown to improve LDL-cholesterol. If you say that you eat enough fiber, you should also know which type of this carbohydrate you are eating.
Dietary fiber can also have a positive effect on blood sugar level. The consumption of soluble fiber not only decreases LDL cholesterol but also decreases blood sugar levels. Too much sugar in the bloodstream can cause long-term damage to body tissues. For example, it can harm blood vessels that supply blood to vital organs, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, kidney disease, vision problems, and nerve problems.
Soluble fiber is good for cholesterol and lower blood sugar.
Insoluble fiber is good for regular bowel movements. Yea, I know. Butt someone had to tell you.
Water Soluble (Good for Lowering Cholesterol)
Water Insoluble (Good for Bowel Movement)
- Whole Wheat Flour
- Wheat Bran
Does fiber has any side effects? Well, almost everything we consume has side effects and fiber is not too different. Fiber could cause bloating and also may interfere with the absorption of minerals such as iron, magnesium, zinc and calcium.
Fiber is like a BFF to your health. The recommended daily consumption of 25-30 g daily is called for by the American Heart Association. Don’t forget that about 10 g of the 25-30 g should be soluble and the rest insoluble fiber.