While we are continually told that we need to eat fibre-rich (fiber-rich) foods, many of us are not completely aware of what the real health benefits of foods that contain fibre are. It would also be fair to say that many people do not know that there are two types of fibre, namely soluble and insoluble fibre. They also do not know what the differences are.

One reason for this is that most of those nutritional labels we see in food products do not indicate if it is soluble or insoluble fibre. So, if the food label only says “fibre”, how would you know?

You need to become your own nutrition expert and know which foods will give you the best source of soluble or insoluble fibre and why you need to include them in your diet.

Fibre is almost similar to sugars and starches due to its carbohydrate makeup. However, the type of carbohydrates that fibre contains, the human body cannot digest, while carbohydrates found in starches and sugars can be digested.

However, although our bodies cannot digest the carbohydrate found in fibre, it helps our system digest other foods and keeps our entire digestive system functioning at its best.

The Two Types of Fibre

There are two types of fibre that act differently in our bodies and both are essential to digestive health.

Soluble fibre can be dissolved in water and insoluble fibre, as the name implies, cannot be dissolved in water.

Insoluble Fibre

Insoluble fibre can be obtained from bran, nuts, seeds and other whole wheat foods. It helps in the formation of the waste mass that passes through the bowels and helps prevent the occurrence of constipation and diarrhoea (diarrhea). Additionally, because insoluble fibre is solid, it allows the forming stool to stay compact. This enables the stool to move easily into the intestines.

Insoluble fibre also works like a scrub that scrapes the walls of the digestive tract as it passes through. As the insoluble fibre scrapes, it will accumulate waste particles so these can be moved out of the body.

Soluble Fibre

Soluble fibre can be obtained from vegetables, flax seeds and fruits. Soluble fibre functions in a different manner to insoluble fibre. It becomes gel-like and thickens the contents when incorporated with the liquids in the body.

Soluble fibre is helpful for hydrating the stool, thereby allowing it to move smoothly into the intestines. It also helps prevent any digestive problems as it makes the digestive contents into a watery, slurry mixture. This slurry mixture slows down its absorption into the small intestines.

This is why if you eat foods containing soluble fibre, you feel fuller longer. This is also why a soluble fibre rich food is considered to be an important inclusion in a weight-loss diet plan.

Studies show that those who eat more soluble fibre will be able to reduce their food intake by as much as 11%. An increased soluble fibre intake has the added benefits of balancing the levels of blood glucose and lowering levels of cholesterol.

Now that you understand how wonderful the health benefits of a fibre-rich diet are, resist the urge to suddenly increase your fibre intake. Make sure to increase your fibre intake in a slow and steady manner.

Why? The reason is, you will be giving your body time to adjust to any increase in the amount of non-digestible material from the fibre-rich foods you are beginning to eat and you won’t feel any discomfort.


Categories of My Research Blogs

DIETS:
Superfoods
Keto Diets
Healthy Diets

IMMUNITY:
Immune System
Respiratory Health
Infections

External Reading

I have compiled the links below for more reading on research done on health benefits of berries. Some of it might be of an academic nature.

Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet
The Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre
Why Do We Need Dietary Fiber?
Surprising Health Benefits of a Fiber-Rich Diet
Improving Your Health with Fiber

Jeff Moji

Hi there. I'm Jeff Moji, an engineer, information technologist, and health enthusiast. I have set up this website to explore the best ways to keep fit and healthy as I grow older during this pandemic-prone time. Please keep in touch so we can exchange information and spur one another on.

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