Fiber has become one of those popular buzzwords in the dietary world of late, joining its buddies “low-fat,” “low-carb” and “protein” atop the list of things we’re all supposed to worry about in order to eat a healthy diet. You see the words “high fiber” on all sorts of foods that promise to improve your health, but do you know the differences in fiber and what the different types of fiber do for the body? If not, you’re certainly not alone, all this fiber talk can be quite confusing.
There are two types of dietary fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibers attract water to them as they pass through the digestive tract and this helps them form a gel and slow down digestion. These fibers keep you fuller longer and they are also known to help the body maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Psyllium fiber found in products such as Metamucil is a soluble fibers. Other soluble fibers include oatmeal, berries, lentils, beans, oranges and pears. Insoluble fiber helps your digestive system with a laxative effect because they stick to nothing on the way through and help everything else head out of your digestive tract. If you have chronic constipation, this is where you should be focusing. Insoluble fibers include whole wheat, whole grains, bran, seeds, nuts, apples, brown rice, broccoli and dark, leafy vegetables.