By Dr. Bill Hemmer
I promised last week to discuss Leaky Gut and Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (sounds exciting huh?!), but I spoke at a conference in Houston a few weeks ago and the entire conference was dedicated to Autoimmunity. The digestive tract was discussed in literally every lecture at the conference, including mine!
But one specific part of digestive health was discussed in many ways. Soluble fiber is arguably the most important part of every meal you eat! According to multiple sources, only about 5 percent of Americans get the recommended amount of soluble fiber (between 25 to 38 grams per day). That leaves 95 percent of us creating an environment in our digestive tract that causes the beginning of almost every disease.
Is soluble fiber really that important?
Well, here is a short list of the most important things soluble fiber does for you. First, it creates bulk. Bulk is important because it helps move food through your digestive tract without trouble. If you don’t have your food moving properly, it gets stuck and starts to rot where it gets stuck. This increases toxin production.
Second, soluble fiber is the food of most of your good bacteria found in your Small and Large Intestines. Remember, 80 percent of your neurotransmitters your brain uses to produce your mood is made by your good bacteria. So, if you don’t feed these bugs regularly, they begin to die off. Once they die, it leaves room for other bugs (sometimes bad bugs), to take their place on the lining of your Intestine. That’s not good.
Third, soluble fiber acts like a sponge for the toxins being excreted by your liver, through your Bile. Not only does your Bile contain enzymes to break down your fat, but it also contains toxins that have been neutralized by your liver. When the Bile reaches your Small Intestine, it is absorbed by the soluble fiber. If you don’t have enough soluble fiber in your Intestines, the extra Bile (with the toxins inside) can be reabsorbed into your bloodstream. This isn’t good because then those toxins circulate in your body wreaking havoc on your health.
So, the next question then becomes, “What are the best sources of soluble fiber?”
The best food sources of soluble fiber are Black Beans, Lima Beans and Kidney Beans. Lower sugar fruits like Pears, Figs, Nectarines, Apricots and Apples also contain quite a bit of soluble fiber. These fruits also are good because the sugar is more slowly absorbed because of the extra fiber.
Other foods high in soluble fiber are Brussel Sprouts, Avocados, Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli, Turnips and Carrots. These foods also contain multiple beneficial vitamins and minerals required for health. Seeds, nuts, and grains are the final group of foods high in soluble fiber. Flax seeds, Sunflower seeds, Hazelnuts also all contain important vitamins and minerals, as well as ample amounts of soluble fiber. Grains like Oats and Barley also have soluble fiber.
The bottom line is, you need soluble fiber for many reasons, and you can detoxify, have a better mood and Immune system by eating your fiber.