"The future of our nation," said former Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen, "depends on our ability to produce food and fiber to sustain the world."
It’s equally true that your individual future as a healthy person depends, in part, on your ability to consume fiber that sustains your inner world.
But what kind of fiber?
All fibers are not the same. Some are insoluble, meaning they pass right through you, doing a splendid job of housecleaning from your mouth to your exit ramp. Some are soluble, meaning you can digest them and improve your gut and heart health.
But until recently, not much was known about the particular benefits of individual forms of soluble fiber.
That's why scientists from the Stanford School of Medicine decided to look at the impact of eating two soluble fibers: AX (arabinoxylan), which is found in whole grains such as wheat, corn, rice, rye, oats, and barley; and LCI (long-chain inulin), which shows up in onions, Jerusalem artichokes, garlic, leeks, and bananas.
Their study, published in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, discovered that AX was associated with a significant reduction in bad LDL cholesterol.
A moderate intake of LCI was associated with a decrease in inflammation markers and an increase in a good-for-the-gut bacteria called Bifidobacterium that protect you from leaky gut and reduce the risk of colon cancer. Both provide health boosts.
Eat a variety of fiber to improve your heart and gut health, and check out the Cleveland Clinic's online article "11 High-Fiber Foods You Should Be Eating."