Have you ever asked yourself, “what is fiber and why do I need it so much of it?” Fiber is the part of plants that the body cannot digest. There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber cannot be dissolved in water. Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance. Insoluble fiber is found in wheat bran, nuts, and many vegetables. Insoluble fiber is especially important for helping keep your digestive system “regular”. Soluble fiber is common in oat bran, citrus fruits, and apples.
One of the most common recommendations I make for patients is to increase the amount of fiber that they take. A person should ingest 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day. There are a few main health benefits of increasing fiber intake:
First, fiber helps keep the intestines and colon functioning properly. Insoluble fibers create bulk in the stool and help to pass food and waste through the digestive tract. Fiber is also known as a prebiotic, which means it is food for the good bacteria in the intestines. Feeding this good bacteria is also beneficial for the intestines and colon.
Second, fiber is beneficial for reducing cholesterol. Soluble fibers found in oats, beans or in fiber supplements like psyllium, can help to reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Third, dietary fiber also helps slow the absorption of foods, particularly glucose, which may be helpful in reducing blood glucose in people with diabetes. Fiber also helps you feel more full, helping you eat less. Eating less can also help reduce blood glucose and aid in weight loss.
As you can see, fiber is very important for everyone’s diet. If you have questions about fiber or fiber supplements ask one of the pharmacists at Wheelock Pharmacy. We carry a variety of fiber products that can help you. Keep your body healthy and increase your fiber intake today.
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