Soluble and Insoluble Dietary Fiber: what’s the difference and why is fiber important?
Although protein is the building block for muscle which is essential for wound healing, it is important to ensure that your body gets enough carbohydrates in order to put the protein to work. Carbohydrates come in many forms and dietary fiber is just one.
Fiber does more than just aid the protein that helps wounds heal: it keeps you regular. It can
also help lower cholesterol, keep your blood sugar stable, make it easier to lose weight. To get all those benefits, there are two types that your body needs: soluble and insoluble. Both come from plants and are forms of carbohydrates. But unlike other carbs, fiber can’t be broken down and absorbed by your digestive system. Instead, as it moves through your body it slows digestion and makes your stools softer and easier to pass. Most foods contain both the insoluble and soluble type. The easiest way to tell them apart? The soluble type absorbs water, turning into a gel-like mush (think of what happens when you add water to oatmeal) while insoluble type doesn’t (think of what happens when you add water to celery).
Soluble rich fiber foods include oatmeal, nuts, beans, apples, and blueberries.The health benefits include: Heart protection: Inside your digestive system, soluble fiber attaches to cholesterol particles and takes them out of the body, helping to reduce overall cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease. Oatmeal is a wonderful example.
Diabetes protection: Because the soluble kind isn’t well absorbed, it doesn’t contribute to the blood sugar spikes that can put you at risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Healthy bowel movements: Soluble fiber soaks up water as it passes through your system, which helps bulk up your stool and guard against constipation and diarrhea. In fact, most fiber supplements contain mostly the soluble kind.
This is found in the seeds and skins of fruit (so always eat your peels) as well as whole-wheat bread and brown rice.
The health benefits include:
Weight loss: Like soluble type, insoluble fiber can play a key role in controlling weight by staving off hunger pangs.
Digestive health: Eating lots of insoluble foods also helps keeps you regular, and if you do get constipated, adding more of it to your diet can improve this condition.
Nutrition is critical in maintaining a healthy body, proper digestion, wound-healing and overall balance. Visit our other blogs on nutrition to learn more.