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Soluble Fiber & Beets

By Sandy Keefe

Grains, fruits and vegetables, including beets, are sources of the dietary fiber that promotes your overall health. The sugar, water, vitamins and minerals from beets are absorbed through the walls of your intestines into your bloodstream. Your body can’t digest or absorb the fiber from the beets, so these complex carbohydrates stay inside your intestines to serve other functions. Beets and many other vegetables contain both soluble and insoluble forms of fiber.

Fiber Content

A 1/2-cup serving of sliced beets contains 1.7 g of total fiber, including 0.7 g of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber from inside the beet plant cells dissolves in water within your intestines. The American Heart Association also emphasizes the importance of beets as a food high in insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber that comes from the cell walls of beets doesn’t combine with water. Instead, it provides roughage that promotes normal bowel function.

Soluble Fiber Effect

The soluble fiber from beets dissolves in water within your intestines and combines with bile acids to form a gel-like substance that’s excreted from your body in your stools. When your liver identifies a drop in bile acid levels, it pulls some cholesterol from storage areas within the liver to create more bile acids. When liver stores of cholesterol drop, the liver pulls more cholesterol from the blood flowing through it and uses that cholesterol to replace lost stores. The level of both total cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins, or bad cholesterol, in your blood drops, lowering your risk factors for coronary artery disease.

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Insoluble Fiber Effect

The insoluble fiber from beets stays inside your intestines, where it forms larger, softer stools that pass easily through your digestive tract. You can have a bowel movement without straining, which reduces your risk of developing chronic constipation, hemorrhoids, diverticulosis or diverticulitis.

Boosting Fiber Intake

With 1.7 g of total fiber per serving, beets don’t meet the criteria of 2.5 to 4 g per serving which constitutes a good source of fiber. Add beets to a colorful salad that contains cooked barley, oranges, strawberries and apples to boost the soluble fiber content. You can also add ingredients rich in insoluble fiber, such as dark leafy greens, nuts and cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli and cauliflower.

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