There are two types of fibre: soluble and insoluble. Both kinds perform necessary functions in the intestinal tract that makes them both vital for optimal health. So what are the functions of soluble fibre and the functions of insoluble fibre?
Soluble fibre is soluble in water. It becomes slimy and lubricating in the gut when it mixes with water in the digestive system. Think of chia seeds or psyllium.
Soluble fibre is found in oat bran, chia, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas and some fruits and vegetables.
Functions of Soluble Fibre
- Binds with fatty acids and bile in the gut, which are generally attached to bad cholesterol and toxins earmarked for the toilet.
- Becomes gel-like in the gut and slows the absorptions of fats and sugars into the blood stream.
- Supports healthy good and bad cholesterol and LDL levels, thereby supporting heart health.
- Regulates or slows the blood sugar release from the gut for healthy blood sugar levels.
Insoluble Fibre Insoluble fibre does not mix with water and generally moves through the gut intact, acting as bulk and scrubbing the intestinal wall. Think of vegetable roughage.
Insoluble fibre is found in wheat bran, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Functions of Insoluble Fibre
- Insoluble fibre tends to speed up the passage of food through the stomach and intestines, adding needed bulk to the stool.
- It is also in charge of maintaining the proper pH of the gut, which regulates the balance of good bacteria in the gut.
- Promotes regular bowel movement and prevents occasional constipation.
- Moves toxic waste through the colon in less time.
- Helps keep an optimal pH in the intestines to prevent microbes from producing toxic substances.
Reported by the Mayo Clinic – 3 benefits of a high fibre diet (and there are more!)
- Helps control blood sugar levels. In people with diabetes, fibre — particularly soluble fibre — can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels. A healthy diet that includes insoluble fibre may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- Lowers cholesterol levels. Soluble fibre found in beans, oats, flaxseed, chia, and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol levels. Studies also have shown that high-fibre foods may have other heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
- Aids in achieving healthy weight. High-fibre foods tend to be more filling than low-fibre foods, so you’re likely to eat less and stay satisfied longer, and high-fibre foods tend to take longer to eat and to be less “energy dense,” which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food
Read all the benefits at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983