There are too many articles on the web about the two types of fibers which are Soluble and Insoluble. There are many types of products which have one of these fiber. For example Metamucil is primarily a insoluble fiber although it does have some soluble fiber also. On the other hand Benefiber is mainly a soluble fiber. So the questions is which type of fiber is better for health?
To answer this question you need to have little bit more understanding about fibers.
Soluble vs Insoluble Fibers
There are two types of fiber and based on whether they dissolve in water or not they are classified as soluble or insoluble fibers. Both types of fibers originate from plants. Fibers are basically not digested by our digestive enzymes. Some of the fiber can be digested by bacteria in out guts.
Primarily the fiber is contained in Cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin and mucilages. Lentils are a great source of fiber, but they are not the only ones. In fact most plant products which are not too much refined contain some fiber.
|Soluble Fiber||Insoluble Fiber|
|This type of fiber dissolves in water.||This fiber type doesn't dissolve in water.|
|When it comes in contact with water it can form gel.||This fiber doesn't form gel.|
|It is digested by bacteria in the guts.||Gut bacteria does not act on it.|
|It is good for heart health.||This is also good for heart health and in addition it is also good for gut health.|
|Examples are Pectins, hemicellulose.||Examples are Cellulose and lignin (Outer cover like string in celery or beans)|
|Examples are Oats, Apples.||Examples are Brocolli, Rye Barn, Celery|
So The Question is Which Fiber is Better?
The answer to this is both of these fibers are needed and good for health. University of California, San Fransisco found that both of these fiber have different health benefits and are required by our body. Often many people wonder whether to eat soluble or insoluble fiber. Experts suggest that both should be taken. However you do not need to toss a coin for deciding which one to take. Just take more fruits and vegetables and the chances are that you would be able to fulfill your fiber requirements for the day quite easily.
For example, when you take an Apple, you get four different kinds of fibers. Two of them are soluble and the other two are insoluble fiber. So if you increase your apple consumption you would automatically be able to increase your fiber intake. And Apple is not an exception. Most of the fruits and vegetable or lentils can supply you with good amount of fiber.
Why Should You Bother to Take Fiber?
Fibers have several proven benefits. When you take fiber regularly you get the health benefits which are associated with the fibers. Some of the benefits are as follows –
1. Cleaner and easier bowels movements.
2. Improved Heart health since it controls the LDL (bad cholesterol) and improves HDL.
3. Weight Control as fiber absorbs extra fat.
4. Cancer prevention as proven in many case studies.
5. Diabetes control as it controls the blood sugar levels.
For more benefits of fiber you can read the article here.
Although the best way to get fiber is to take more fruits and vegetable you can also take supplements such as Metamucil or other products in the market in case you feel your diet is not able to fulfill your fiber needs.