Soluble fiber: Examples of low-carb foods
What are soluble fiber? As their name suggests, these fibers are water-soluble and can be broken down by bacteria in the intestine. They are mainly found in fruits and vegetables, while insoluble fiber is found primarily in whole grains, mushrooms, nuts and legumes. Many soluble dietary fibers are called “viscous” because they form a gel-like substance in the digestive tract and enable better absorption of nutrients. They also slow down the absorption of sugar and keep blood sugar stable. Soluble fiber can also lower blood cholesterol and promote colon health. In this article you can learn all about fiber in food.
Soluble fiber in food: The best sources of soluble fiber include psyllium, flax, chia, beans, peas, oatmeal, berries, apples, and some non-starchy vegetables like Brussels sprouts, okra, and asparagus.
Types of soluble fiber
There are four types of soluble fiber that you may have heard of: 1) Pectins (e.g. in fruits, vegetables and legumes) 2) Beta glucan (e.g. in oatmeal and in the konjac root from which shirataki noodles are made) 3) Plant gums such as seaweed extracts (e.g. carrageenan, agar agar) and seed mucilages (e.g. guar gum, locust bean gum) and 4) inulin (e.g. in chicory, Jerusalem artichokes and onions). Inulin is also becoming increasingly popular as a food additive, for example in protein bars.
Health benefits of soluble fiber
1. Good for digestion – Soluble fiber, especially the “gel-forming” type, passes through the intestines more slowly and thus reduces the body’s glycemic response to carbohydrates. They serve the “good” intestinal bacteria as food and activate digestion in a natural way. The nutrients are completely absorbed in the intestine.
2nd Good for blood sugar – There is evidence that soluble fiber stimulates the release of a glucose regulating hormone called GLP-1. This effect has been linked to bacterial fermentation in the colon.
3rd Good for gut health – A high-fiber diet is especially important for the beneficial bacteria in the intestine. They produce enzymes, valuable short-chain fatty acids that are difficult to ingest through food, and other helpful ingredients that ensure a well-functioning digestive system.
4th Good for heart health – The absorption of soluble fiber is associated with the lowering of the cholesterol level in the blood. And a normal cholesterol level reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Soluble fiber in low-carb foods
Good soluble fiber sources are oatmeal and beans, but there are other options for people who care about their carbohydrate intake. Even if you eat low carb, you can increase your fiber intake with the following foods.
1. Flax seeds and chia seeds – Both seeds are high in fiber, including soluble fiber, and at the same time contain very little starch or sugar.
2nd Psyllium – Psyllium psyllium husks are offered as a dietary supplement to aid digestion because they are rich in soluble fiber. The seed shells of the Plantago indica plant are also a real miracle cure for gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, constipation and flatulence.
3rd Some non-starchy vegetables – Vegetables that are not starchy are allowed with a low-carb diet. For example, 100 grams of cooked Brussels sprouts contains 2 grams of soluble fiber, and one serving of asparagus contains almost as much. Okra, beets, carrots and artichokes are also low-carb vegetables that are rich in soluble fiber.
4th legumes – Most of the fiber is in legumes. Peas, lentils and beans also contain a lot of carbohydrates, which is very important for low carbers. However, it’s worth adding a small amount of these high-fiber foods to your diet. A large part of the starch in white beans and chickpeas is called resistant starch, which does not increase blood sugar and has a positive effect on the intestinal flora. The other part of the starch is slowly digested starch, which helps us feel full longer.
If you want to avoid the more carbohydrate types of beans, you can use soybeans that are very low in starch but have lots of soluble fiber. Black soybeans, for example, contain more protein and less carbohydrates than yellow soybeans.
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