Wendy Moss| HealthGreatness

Dietary fiber is a staple of the human diet. Fiber serves several purposes within the body and helps it to maintain proper function both in the digestive tract as well as the circulatory system. While some types of fiber are water soluble and broken down within the body, others are made of cellulose and cannot be easily digested. These two forms of fiber each of a function in keeping the body healthy.

Water Soluble Fiber
Water soluble fiber breaks down in the digestive tract and attaches to lipids in the blood stream. These small molecules of cholesterol will travel through the veins making the blood thick and sticky. The more cholesterol in the blood, the more likely it will begin to accumulate in the arteries. This can cause blockages in or near the heart resulting in both heart attacks or strokes. When fiber is introduced, it attaches to the cholesterol and carries it out of the body, preventing it from building up and forming blockages. This also reduces a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease and arteriosclerosis.

Cellulose Fiber
Cellulose fiber does not break down in the digestive tract. Instead it moves through the small and large intestines, acting as a makeshift broom. The more fiber within the intestines, the firmer a person’s stools. As the fiber moves along the intestines, it brushes away debris and contaminants that can build up over time. The more fiber introduced to the digestive tract, the more debris that is carried away. This helps to control how the bowel works and keeps it moving regularly. When the right amount of fiber is included in the diet, constipation and diarrhea are not major issues.

Maintaining an adequate amount of fiber helps to control the bowels, as well as keep the circulatory system functioning efficiently. While fresh fruits and vegetables offer modest amounts of fiber, whole grains, legumes, beans and nuts offer an abundance of both types of fiber that help the body maintain the sensitive balance that is needed for optimum health.