5 Fantastic Facts You Didn’t Know About Fiber
By Louise Belle BHSc (Nut Med)
People often underestimate the importance of fiber. They merely relate fiber to poop and prunes and don’t really give it much more thought. Fiber is basically the husky, indigestible part of a plant. There are two types of fiber; soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is the type that absorbs water and forms a gel-like substance and is found in chia seeds, flax seeds, psyllium husk, oat bran, berries and beans. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool and is found in fruit and vegetable skin, wheat bran, rice bran, nuts and wholegrains.
- Fiber naturally reduces cholesterol
Fiber, specifically soluble fiber helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. This is because the fiber is able to bind to the particles of cholesterol and transport them out of the body via bowel movements- kind of like a pickup truck, getting a load of unwanted material and dumping it else ware. Fiber can help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke by preventing the build-up of sticky plaque in the arteries (atherosclerosis).
- Fiber helps to balance blood sugar levels
When you eat a meal containing a good amount of fiber, it slows down the absorption of sugar from the meal into the blood stream. It’s like two lanes of traffic merging into one- it slows down. By making the absorption slower, there is less of a spike in blood glucose levels. Fiber can help to prevent against insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes by helping to stabilize blood glucose and insulin secretion.
- Fiber promotes a healthy digestive system
This is an obvious one, but fiber really has amazing benefits for the digestive tract. It helps to maintain regular bowel movements and acts as an ‘intestinal broom’, scrubbing the walls of the digestive tract to remove leftover waste material. It feeds the good bacteria (flora) in the gut and helps to prevent against constipation, diverticulitis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Fiber is particularly important as we age, to reduce to risk of bowel cancer.
- Fiber promotes weight control
There are a few reasons why fiber can assist in maintaining a healthy weight. Firstly, diets that are high in fiber are generally lower in energy (calories) and therefore, are more likely to assist in healthy weight maintenance. Secondly, because fiber slows digestion and expands in your stomach, so it will keep you fuller for longer, decreasing unnecessary snacking. Studies have shown correlations between high fiber consumption and healthy weight.
- Fiber helps with detoxing
By helping to speed up the movement of waste through the digestive tract, fiber helps to reduce your toxin exposure. Remember that your poop is full of toxins that need removing from your body, and if you aren’t doing a ‘number 2’ often enough, they sit in your bowel festering away and you end up reabsorbing them. Soluble fiber also acts like a sponge, absorbing toxins from the intestinal tract for removal.
- Isn’t fiber fantastic! It does so much more for your health than making you poop and should really be incorporated into your regular diet. Women need to aim for at least 25 grams of fiber daily, whilst men need at least 30 grams. Fibertone is an excellent source of dietary fiber, combining psyllium husk with herbs and amino acids that help to support bowel, liver and gallbladder health.