Dietary fiber is a plant-based nutrient. It is sometimes known as roughage or bulk. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate. But, unlike other carbs, it cannot be broken down into digestible sugar molecules. Dietary fiber breaks into two categories, soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
Soluble Fiber & Insoluble Fiber
This type of fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like material. It will help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.
- Soluble fiber is also a powerful natural appetite suppressant. Because it regulates the hormones involved in appetite control by suppressing your appetite, you are more likely to reduce your calorie intake resulting in weight loss.
- Insoluble fiber – This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk. So, it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans and vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans and potatoes, are good sources of insoluble fiber.
Fiber has many benefits:
- Lowers cholesterol levels – Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flax seed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipo-protein, or “bad,” cholesterol levels. Studies also have shown that high-fiber foods may have other heart-health benefits. Reducing blood pressure and inflammation are just a few improvements.
- Helps control blood sugar levels – In people with diabetes, fiber — particularly soluble fiber — can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels. A healthy diet that includes insoluble fiber may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Aids in achieving a healthy weight – High-fiber foods tend to be more filling than low-fiber foods, so you’re likely to eat less and stay satisfied longer. And high-fiber foods tend to take longer to eat and to be less “energy-dense,” which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.
- Fiber fuel aids in achieving a healthy weight. High-fiber foods tend to be more filling than low-fiber foods. So, you’re likely to eat less and stay satisfied longer. High-fiber foods tend to take longer to eat and to be less “energy-dense,” which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.
- Fiber also slows the movement of food through the gut. This, in turn, will reduce your appetite.