Has your doctor ever told you to eat more fiber? Maybe you wanted to stay “regular”. Dietary fiber not only helps to relieve constipation, it also helps the body maintain a healthy weight and lowers the risk for diabetes and heart disease.1 Children and adults need at least 20 to 30 grams of fiber (e.g. 2 ½ cup of blueberries) per day for good health, but most Americans get only about 15 grams a day. 2
There are actually two kinds of dietary fiber — soluble and insoluble. The body needs both of these to support health, and there are many delicious fiber-rich foods that make it easy to get your daily servings. So what is the difference between these two kinds?
Soluble fiber is soft and sticky. Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance inside the digestive system when combined with water. It helps soften stool so it can easily slide through the gastrointestinal tract. It also binds to cholesterol and sugar, preventing or slowing their absorption into the blood.
Soluble fiber creates a feeling of fullness, which helps with weight management. A study in Annals of Internal Medicine suggested that aiming to eat 30 grams of fiber each day can help with weight management. 3 Soluble fiber is also known to help regulate blood sugar levels, and protect against heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol. 3
Soluble fiber comes from oats, peas, white beans, avocado, black beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, raspberries, blueberries, barley and psyllium.
This is the type people think of as “bulk” or “roughage.” It’s the tough matter found in whole grains, nuts, and fruits and veggies that doesn’t dissolve in water. Insoluble fiber is not digestible or readily absorbed into the bloodstream. It adds bulk to waste in the digestive system, which helps prevent constipation.
Insoluble fiber comes from corn, green beans, pears, oatmeal, whole wheat pasta and bread, brown rice, nuts, celery, sprouts, onions, cucumbers, leafy greens, cauliflower, broccoli, and potatoes.
Our bodies need both soluble and insoluble fiber
On product labels, you’ll often see “Total Dietary Fiber” listed, for good reason. Both kinds are important for your health. A study in The Journals of Gerontology reported that eating the right amount of fiber…can help us avoid disease and disability into old age. The study found that those who had the highest intake of fiber or total fiber actually had an almost 80% greater likelihood of living a long and healthy life over a 10-year follow-up.4
Did you know that 360 Complete Shake meal replacement has 11 grams of fiber per serving? It’s actually one of the best sources of fiber that you can take on a regular basis. And, Mila contains both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Be sure to drink plenty of water
Fiber depends on water to do its job. Soluble fiber absorbs it, while insoluble fiber traps water adding bulk and moisture to waste to prevent constipation. Be sure to balance your fiber intake with plenty of water. The Institute of Medicine suggests about 9 cups daily for women and 13 cups every day for men.5