Dietary Fiber – What Does Fiber Do?
Eating dietary fiber is a great way to manage blood pressure, diabetes, and prevent cardiovascular related heart disease. However, eating fiber also prevents constipation and keeps the intestinal flora balanced.
Constipation is often common on a keto diet because you are limiting your carbs which ultimately limits your fiber intake. One of the best ways to prevent this issue is by adding psyllium husk powder to your diet. It has zero net carbs and can be used in a variety of ways. But before you start using it, make sure that you know how to use psyllium husk!
Once constipation occurs, drinking a medicinal tea laxative or a gentle laxative powder can remedy the situation quickly. Once resolved, incorporating more dietary fiber in your keto or low carb diet can prevent the problem from happening again.
So, if you are still thinking “dietary fiber” or “what does fiber do,” keep reading to learn how fiber can benefit your overall health!
In most cases, it does not matter what kind of diet you are on – we can all benefit from eating more dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is only found in fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Therefore, it is essential to include low carb fruits, low carb vegetables, and low carb nuts in a keto diet or low carb diet.
The average American consumes 12 – 17 grams per day, while the recommended daily dose of dietary fiber is 20 – 35 grams per day. A diet that is high in dietary fiber can improve your overall health because it lowers your blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol levels. While a diet that is low in dietary fiber inadvertently contributes to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and constipation.
Ironically, however, the dietary fiber that we eat is not actually digested by the body. With that being said, let’s discuss what does fiber do?
Types of Fiber:
There are two types of dietary fiber: (1) soluble, and (2) insoluble. Both fibers are often found in the same foods in different amounts. So, in general, eating soluble dietary fiber reduces your overall or “net” sodium, sugar, and cholesterol intake. While, eating insoluble dietary fiber keeps your digestive system healthy and prevents constipation.
It improves your overall health by reducing the workload on your body.
Soluble fiber is a fiber that can be dissolved in water. And as a result, soluble fiber creates a gelatinous or gel-like substance that can help regulate the amount of sodium, sugar, and cholesterol that must be transported through the body. In this way, soluble fiber reduces the amount of sodium, sugar, and cholesterol that enters the blood stream.
Therefore, when less sodium, sugar, and cholesterol enter the blood stream, it reduces your overall blood pressure, blood sugar, and blood cholesterol levels!
Therefore, soluble fiber is actually an essential macronutrient that should be included a healthy diet including a keto and low carb diet. In addition, most dietary fibers are high in micronutrients like potassium, which is an essential nutrient we must eat in order to regulate our blood pressure.
Foods containing high levels of soluble fiber include: sweet potatoes, peas, pears, figs, nectarines, apricots, carrots, apples, guavas, dried beans, oats, oat bran, rice bran, barley, potatoes, citrus fruits, and strawberries. Many fruits and vegetables are high in carbs! Therefore, more attention is involved when you are selecting fibers that you can eat on a keto or low carb diet.
This is the fiber that keeps a person regular.
Insoluble fiber does not get absorbed nor does it dissolve in water. This type of fiber essentially pass through the body in a similar manner it was taken in. Therefore, insoluble fibers are what help move digested foods through the digestive tract.
Foods high in insoluble fiber include: seeds, nuts, green beans, cauliflower, beans, cabbage, potatoes, celery, wheat bran, whole grains, cereals, fruit skins, and vegetable skins. Again, many of the insoluble fibers are high in carbs as well. Therefore, a little more effort is required to find high fiber low carb snacks.