There are two types of dietary fiber – soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Both are only found in plants and both are very good for us in different ways…
Soluble fiber affects blood sugar levels. It turns into a thick gel when mixed with fluid (think of oatmeal and fruit pectin). In the intestines, this thick gel binds cholesterol preventing it from being absorbed. This is why oats have been found to help lower cholesterol levels.
Insoluble fiber is primarily found in the skins of fruits and vegetables and in the hull or bran of grains and seeds. Insoluble fiber moves bulk and waste through the intestines faster, promoting regular bowel movements and clean pipes!
Yes! Fiber is good for us! But this doesn’t mean we need to eat lots of bran flakes or fiber supplements to get enough. If you only eat the skins and hulls of plants (bran is simply the hull of a grain) you miss out on the vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial parts of the plant! The best way to get enough fiber is just to eat a variety of whole fruit, whole vegetables, and whole grains each day.
When switching to a high-fiber diet, start gradually. This will allow your body to adjust without intestinal discomfort. Also, make sure to drink plenty of water to help push the fiber through.