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Don’t Forget Fiber

By on October 17, 2013

You don’t have to be an AARP member to integrate fiber into your diet. Most grains, beans, vegetables, and fruits contain fiber. Foods that are richer in fiber are also likely to be lower in calories and fat, great news for an obese nation. Make sure you check the level of fiber in canned, packaged, and frozen foods. Read labels.

Did you know there are two types of fiber? Soluble fiber dissolves in water. Insoluble fiber does not. To some degree these differences determine how each fiber functions in the body and benefits your health.

Insoluble fiber is found in whole grains, cereals, some fruits and veggies (like the skin of apples, corn, carrots, etc.). In soluble fiber may prevent constipation and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.  They are considered gut-healthy fiber because they have a laxative effect and add bulk to the diet, thus able to prevent constipation. Because these fibers do not dissolve in water, so they pass through the gastrointestinal tract relatively intact, and speed up the passage of food and waste through your gut.

  • Sources of insoluble fiber: whole wheat, whole grains, wheat bran, corn bran, seeds, nuts, barley, couscous, brown rice, bulgur, zucchini, celery, broccoli, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, dark leafy vegetables, raisins, grapes, fruit, and root vegetable skins.

Soluble fiber can reduce cholesterol (lowers risk of heart disease) as well as helps control blood sugar levels. Soluble fibers attract water and form a gel, which slows down digestion. Soluble fiber delays the emptying of your stomach and makes you feel full, which helps control weight. Slower stomach emptying may also affect blood sugar levels and have a beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity, which may help control diabetes.

  • Sources of soluble fiber: oats, oatmeal, oat cereal, lentils, apples, oranges, pears, oat bran, strawberries, nuts, flaxseeds, beans, dried peas, blueberries, cucumbers, celery, and carrots.

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