Do You Know Your Fiber Options?

Written by Georgia Tetlow, MD, Integrative Physician, and Fatima Flynn, MS Fiber is an important component of food that helps improve:

  •  GI function
  •  Blood sugar regulation
  •  Cholesterol levels.
  •  Certain GI symptoms.

What you may not realize is that Fiber also helps feed and support the bacteria you already have living in your gut! As well as those which you are supplementing through probiotics, encouraging them to take up residence and multiply in a very healthy way. There are two types of fiber - soluble and insoluble fiber. Both are vital, but have different purposes to support your digestive health.

Soluble fiber - dissolves in water and  ferments your colon to produce small-chain fatty acids (SCFA). SCFA nourish and heal the gut lining. As an example, the inner portion of an apple contains soluble fiber whereas the peel is made of insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber can contribute to a feeling of fullness and help with weight management. It also helps to decrease the absorption of dietary sugars and fats, thereby helping to manage blood sugar and blood fat levels.

Water-soluble fiber also serves as a food source for the beneficial microorganisms that inhabit the digestive tract. In addition to fruits and vegetables, oat bran and other oat products, cooked dried beans, peas, and lentils provide soluble fiber. The overall microbiome can significantly and positively affect your weight, in addition to these fiber effects.

Insoluble fiber- doesn't dissolve in water and provides bulk for more regular bowel movements. Insoluble fiber is beneficial for preventing constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticuli. Wheat bran, whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables are excellent sources of insoluble fiber. Know your Fiber options by asking your Holistic and Integrative doctor or nurse practitioner at your next PIM appointment!

For a downloadable pdf listing both soluble + insoluble fiber rich foods, click here your-fiber-options.

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