Soluble vs. Insoluble Fiber

For those who may not know much about fiber and how it can affect the body, it is important to acknowledge that there are two different kinds if fiber available, and that they both benefit the body in different ways. Soluble fiber, as the name suggests, absorbs moisture from the body as it passes through your system. Insoluble fiber, however, does the opposite. Both are important in their own ways, as they can both greatly help those wishing to lose weight or improve their general health.

Soluble Fiber

Soluble, by definition, means a substance that can be dissolved, especially in water. This means that the fiber that is consumed starts to absorb moisture from the body as it makes it’s way slowly through the digestive tract.  This makes it swell and it becomes a thick, gel-like substance in the gut. As fiber generally is not digested by the stomach, it gives a satisfied ‘full’ feeling after eating, as the fiber starts to swell. On it’s way, this thick fiber substance absorbs certain acids that are made from cholesterol from your liver. This is obviously a good thing, and additionally, the body then has to draw cholesterol from the blood to compensate.  This, in turn, has the effect of lowering the blood cholesterol levels.

As the soluble fiber absorbs moisture from the body on it’s journey through your gut, by the time it reaches it’s final destination in the bowels, it has taken with it impurities, acids and cholesterol from the body and is ready to be expelled as a large, soft stool. This is also a great benefit to those suffering from difficulties in passing solid waste. Fruits, seeds, oats and beans are some of the foods that contain high amounts of soluble fiber, and should be considered when trying to boost your intake.

Insoluble Fiber

On the other hand, insoluble fiber does not absorb moisture from the body. Despite this, it offers other, different health benefits to those eating a high fiber diet.

One of the most important benefits of insoluble fiber is its way of passing quicker through the digestive system; cancer causing compounds that are caught by the digestive process are eliminated from the body much quicker. Insoluble fiber reaches the bowels on a more regular basis than it’s soluble counterpart, as it is not hindered by absorbing water. This means that it promotes a more regular passing of stools, which can be a great relief to those suffering from constipation, irritable bower syndrome and other digestive disorders.

Fruits, nuts, vegetables, cereals and wholegrain breads are all great sources of insoluble fiber. Wheat bran, which can be purchased in many health food stores, is an excellent source of both insoluble and soluble fiber, and can be used in many dishes both sweet and savory without any noticeable differing in taste or texture

It has been proven that the majority of people in western countries are not eating enough fiber, so just a small change in your diet can see you on your way to a fitter, slimmer and healthier you.


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