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We’ve heard time and time again to eat more fiber and yet still people fall well short of their daily goals. Just what is it about fiber that makes it so essential to our health? Fiber is probably best known for its ability to keep the body regular, but eating a high fiber diet can have many other health benefits such as maintaining a healthy weight and lowering the risk for diabetes and heart disease.
So just what is dietary fiber? Fiber includes the parts of the plants that the body cannot digest or absorb. Unlike other nutrients such as protein, carbohydrates and fat, fiber remains intact instead of being digested.
Fiber comes in two types – soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves into water to become a gel-like substance and can help lower glucose levels and cholesterol. This type of fiber is found in oats, apples, beans, citrus fruits and barley. Insoluble fiber does not absorb in water and instead helps to bulk up the food in the body, keeping it moving through the digestive system. This type of fiber is found in whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans and potatoes.
In order to obtain both soluble and insoluble fiber in your diet it is important to consume a variety of high fiber foods. This apple pie smoothie contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, making it a terrific addition to your diet.