When it comes to fiber, you’ve probably heard that it’s incredibly important for your digestion and cardiovascular systems. However, while it’s is often treated as a single entity (your doctor has probably told you to just “get enough fiber”), there are actually many different kinds out there, and some are better than others when it comes to giving you those must-have benefits. Beta glucan is one of the most vital.
What is beta glucan?
Beta glucan is a soluble fiber, meaning that it dissolves in water into a gel-like consistency. That gel base helps with a number of crucial health functions that keep several parts of the body in working order day-to-day.
Studies have shown that beta glucan works wonders for lowering cholesterol and triglycerides, keeping your heart pumping oxygen-rich blood throughout your body without any problems over time. Similarly, along with a healthy diet, it regulates blood sugar levels, preventing you from developing diabetes, or managing the condition if you already have it. And while the research is still in its early stages, scientists believe that this fiber can also have a positive effect on your immune system, keeping it “reved up” and ready to help the body stay healthy.
If all of that wasn’t enough, this sort of gel fiber is great for cutting cravings and keeping you full throughout the day, which can help with both weight loss and weight management.
How much should you get in your diet?
There are no set dosages for the amount of beta glucan you should have in your diet, though most health professionals recommend that women generally get around 25 grams of fiber every day. The important thing is to evenly distribute your fiber intake among your various meals and snacks so that you don’t have too much in your system at one time. Consuming a large amount quickly can create some bloating, gastric discomfort, diarrhea, and nausea. People who are taking medication for high blood sugar or diabetes should also not focus on upping their daily beta glucan doses too much.
How should you take Beta glucan?
Beta glucan fiber is often found in grains like oats, barley, wheat, bran, and baker’s yeast, but you can buy it in oral capsule form as well (Buy on Amazon, $12.69). Just make sure you get a doctor’s OK before adding it — or any other supplement — to your daily routine!
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This article originally appeared on our sister site, First for Women.