Fiber Content of Foods – How Insoluble Fiber Helps with Digestion?
The fiber content of foods is a consistently hot topic among those looking to maintain healthy and balanced diets, those looking to get fit or, simply looking to manage occasional irregularity. However, most discussion is centered around what foods are high in fiber, good sources, preparation methods and supplements, with little emphasis on the varying types of fiber and how each contributes to healthy digestion. Digestive health may not seem like the most glamorous discussion point, but it has a bearing on weight loss, recurrence of stomach bloating and gastrointestinal discomfort, and nutrient absorption too.
Fiber is the part of edibles that the body is unable to break down and digest and, there are two types of dietary fiber. Soluble fiber refers to that which absorbs water. As the water loving fiber attracts liquid, it creates a gelatinous goo that slows digestion down. This can contribute to feeling full and potentially make losing weight easier. But, when it comes to a diet for constipation, the other type of fiber, the insoluble variety, is the star of the show. WebMD indicates that this other fiber type serves as a bulk builder within the digestive tract, which can produce a laxative outcome. Therefore, analyzing not just the fiber content of foods, but how much insoluble fiber each includes, is important for those looking to make dietary changes to combat frequent irregularity.
Insoluble fiber acts as a cleanup crew for the colon. Some foods that are ingested move along the digestive tract at a snail’s pace and can contribute to constipation. Insoluble fiber moves right on through the digestive system without slowing because it remains relatively unchanged through the digestive process. As such, it travels through the intestines quickly, helping to hurry along any slow passing remnants of meals past.
The total fiber content of foods generally contains both types of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Some foods contain much more of one than the other. According to Medical News Today, 3 times the amount of insoluble fiber should be consumed as should be soluble, and that can have a bearing on which foods rich in fiber are chosen. Not only can consuming fiber rich foods provide an obvious benefit as foods to prevent constipation, they also can help control cholesterol levels, as well as reducing the risk for certain health conditions such as colon cancer and colitis.
So, what foods should those concerned about the fiber content of foods be on the lookout for if eager to get some more insoluble fiber? Apples are a great pick. Boasting 4 grams of insoluble fiber as well as 1 gram of full-feeling soluble fiber. Sharing similar stats are sweet and juicy pears as well as half a cup of tart blueberries. Foodstuffs commonly associated with gut goodness like barley and oatbran both contain a gram apiece of soluble fiber per half cup cooked, but three to four times that amount in the form of insoluble fiber. In some cases, the fiber content of foods can even be comparable to the active ingredients in many types of bulk laxatives, such as psyllium seeds. A tablespoon of psyllium seeds ground yields 6 grams of insoluble fiber as well as 5 grams of soluble fiber, making its dietary fiber benefits enormously evident. However, another great source that may lack the soluble stats but bears loads of insoluble fiber is beans. Lentils contain 8 grams in half a cup and pintos are not far behind at 7 grams. Lima, kidney and navy beans all put up impressive numbers for their insoluble content. Beans have some of the highest fiber content of foods available, although fruits and vegetables are also good sources too.
Instead of benefitting from the wealth of available food sources of insoluble fiber, some instead turn to fiber supplements. These can be beneficial, particularly if suffering from symptomatic constipation and desiring rapid relief. However, WebMD advises that it is possible that supplements are not as potent within the body as natural fiber sources and that more study is needed to compare the results of supplement effect versus the intake of dietary sources of fiber.
Insoluble fiber is very important to the everyday functioning of the digestive tract. It helps food that is having a hard time working its way through the colon pass through gently and more quickly. It is found in many of the foods that are eaten every day; and is essential to not only good colon health, but even potentially the staving off of health problems and disease.