Thursday, July 14, 2011
What is Insoluble Fiber?
We've all heard that we should get plenty of fiber in our diet. One of the types of fiber to add to your diet is insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber is found in many types of plants, and can be a healthful addition to your diet.
Insoluble fiber, plant fiber that the human digestive system cannot process, does not break down as it passes through the digestive tract. Insoluble fiber can be beneficial in many ways. A diet high in fiber, of both soluble and insoluble varieties, tends to lead to improved health in a variety of categories.
Most people associate insoluble fiber with regularity. Insoluble fiber tends to bunch up in the digestive tract, and because it is not broken down and stays in solid form, it helps produce solid, well-sized stool. Insoluble fiber also helps the stool retain more water. Solid, larger stool moves through the intestines more easily, and the higher water content makes regular bowel movements less of a strain.
Some health professionals believe that insoluble fiber acts as a cleanser of the digestive tract. Because it remains solid and fibrous as it travels through the intestines, the insoluble fiber acts like a brush or sponge. Stray particles within the intestines tend to clump together with the insoluble fiber, and are more easily removed from the body with normal bowel movements.
Insoluble fiber appears to help patients with obesity and high cholesterol. It may decrease the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and many problems of the intestines. Insoluble fiber in the diet tends to make a person feel more full, so it is easier to control portion size. Insoluble fiber has few if any calories, so it makes a good addition to most weight loss plans.
Many products are clearly labeled as a source of insoluble fiber. Products to look for include whole grains, nuts, bran fiber, and many vegetables like celery, zucchini, and beans. Make sure to eat as much of the food as possible, as the skin of vegetables and the husk of grains are often the greatest sources of insoluble fiber.