The Benefits of Soluble Fiber for Digestive and Heart Health
Author: Anisa Tipton, RD, M.S. & Caroline MacDougall
We’ve all heard that we should eat more fiber but most people don’t realize that fiber comes in two forms, soluble and insoluble. People groan about eating insoluble fiber if it means they have to switch from their favorite cereal to one of those cardboard-like, fiber varieties or choose the crunchy, brown, whole grain bread over their white, sourdough baguette. The good news is that soluble fiber, like the kind you get in a cup of Teeccino, is much easier on the digestive tract and is also heart healthy!
Soluble Fiber is easier to digest than insoluble fiber
Most people think of whole wheat, bran products, raw and leafy green vegetables when they think of high fiber foods, but these foods are actually high in insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool, and passes through your body largely intact, increasing the speed at which food moves through the stomach and intestines. Insoluble fiber can sometimes increase irritation in those who suffer from gastrointestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome or diverticulitis.
On the other hand, soluble fiber slows the digestion of food, giving the body time to absorb nutrients. It also prolongs the time food stays in the stomach, helping sugar to be released and absorbed more slowly into your system. This helps people avoid blood sugar spikes, making soluble fiber great for diabetics.
Soluble fiber is found in grains like barley, oatmeal, rice, and corn meal and seeds like chia and flax. You can also enjoy soluble fiber in a wider variety of vegetables and fruits like potatoes, carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, turnips, beets, squash, pumpkins, avocados, bananas, oranges, applesauce and mangos. Even mushrooms contribute soluble fiber to your diet!
Soluble fiber is heart healthy
Soluble fiber lowers total cholesterol by binding it during digestion and eliminating it from the body without it being absorbed. Eating soluble fiber has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease. Soluble fiber from barley and oats contains beta-glucan, a natural polysaccharide that has been proven to lower LDL-cholesterol. Beta-glucan also has anti-tumor and immune stimulating properties.
Eating foods rich in soluble fiber help prevent symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and can relieve those symptoms that may occur. Sources of soluble fiber recommended for IBS include psyllium, chia and flax. All three have a bulk laxative effect which helps maintain regularity by stimulating elimination.
Soluble Fiber in Teeccino can boost your daily intake
Inulin, a soluble fiber from chicory root, contributes unique benefits to improve digestive health. Inulin is a prebiotic because it supports a healthy population of beneficial micro-flora, often called probiotics, that live in the large and small intestines helping to digest your food. Studies show that a strong population of probiotics is necessary for good digestive health. Inulin, commercially extracted from chicory root, is often added to foods like yogurt to support the effectiveness of the probiotics such as the lactobacillus and bifidus micro-flora. A cup of Teeccino contains 650 mg of inulin that comes naturally from roasted chicory root that tastes so much like coffee.
Most people do not get enough soluble fiber in their diets. The recommended amount a fiber a day is 25g per day. The average American only consumes an average of 15g per day. You can help increase your soluble fiber intake daily by drinking Teeccino.
Every cup of Teeccino contains 1 gram of soluble fiber from both barley with beta-glucan and chicory. Drinking 5 cups of Teeccino daily provides the .75 grams of soluble fiber from barley for which the FDA has recently allowed the following health claim: Soluble fiber from foods such as barley as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.
OK, let’s face it! Not many of us like to eat what’s good for us. So you can feel highly virtuous knowing that drinking something as delicious as Teeccino can also be healthy for your digestive system and your heart!