Fiber is an important part of any healthy and balanced diet and is only found in plants. It’s important for a healthy gut, weight loss, and management, preventing heart disease and colorectal cancer. Men should aim for at least 38g a day and women should aim for at least 25g a day from food. Fiber fits into two primary categories: soluble and insoluble fiber.
What’s the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber?
Soluble fiber is dissolvable in water. When it mixes with water it turns gel-like. It acts the same way in the digestive system. It moves things swiftly along (pun intended).
Benefits of Soluble fiber:
- Makes you fuller for longer because it swells as it get into contact with water.
- Boosts good bacteria in the gut
- Boosts the immune system
- Binds to cholesterol and sugars and slows down the rate at which they are absorbed in the body
Great sources of soluble fiber:
- Chickpeas (35g per cup)
- Avocados (6.7 grams in a serving)
- Whole-Wheat pasta (6.3g per cup)
- Psyllium husks (5g per tbsp)
- Apples (4.4g per medium-sized apple)
- Oatmeal (4 grams per cup)
- Flaxseeds (1.1g per tablespoon)
Insoluble fiber cannot be dissolved in water. It is found in the skins of fruits, grains and nuts. As it goes through the digestive track it retains its original form. Insoluble fiber doesn’t get broken down by the body and absorbed into the blood stream. It rather adds bulk to stool and move through the colon faster.
Benefits of Insoluble fiber:
- Prevents constipation
- Have a prebiotic effect
- Can help prevent colorectal cancer
Great sources of insoluble fiber:
- Artichokes (10.3g per medium artichoke)
- Chia seeds (9.8g per oz)
- Okra (8.2g per cup)
- Sweet potatoes (4g per cup)
- Beets (3.8g per cup)
- Kale (3.8g per cup)
- Walnuts (1.9 g per oz)
- Medjool dates (1.6g per date)
The type of fiber is not as important as making sure you are getting an adequate amount of fiber. Most fiber rich foods will contain both soluble and insoluble fiber in varying ratios.
Fiber and beautiful skin
How on to the reason we are all here: how does your fiber intake help with your skin? One of the liver’s key functions is producing bile. Bile is a liquid substance that aids in the digestion of fats. Once the liver produces bile, it is store in the gallbladder. The average adult produces between 13.5oz and 27oz of bile every day. If you don’t ingest enough soluble fiber, bile which should be excreted from the body is reintroduced into the body. This leads to a buildup of toxins and creates an inflammatory environment that allows skin conditions like acne, clogged pores, psoriasis and eczema to thrive.
Fiber aids your body in eliminating toxins and waste. Toxins and waste contribute to inflammation, which can cause acne and clogged pores. When you do not digest food effectively, your body has a hard time absorbing the nutrients from the food. This can lead to constipation and an unhealthy gut where there aren’t enough fiber to feed the good bacteria, which leads to a significant increase in the growth of bad bacteria.
Eating fiber rich foods are important. There are various supplements but they should be seen as a last resort. People have noticed significant improvement in the health of their skin, in as little as a week, by eating more fiber-rich foods. Others have experienced discomfort and bloating when they introduce more fiber into their diet, but that shall pass as your body gets used to the increased fiber intake.