Strawberries and flax seeds are both rich fiber sources. The strawberry fruit’s skin is covered in tiny seeds, while flax seeds come from the pods of the linum plant. Flax seeds are frequently added to multi-grain products such as breads, though they are also available as a dietary supplement. Both are digested by the body, but in different ways.
Types of Fiber: Soluble and Insoluble
The way high-fiber foods are digested depends upon the type of fiber they contain. Soluble fiber absorbs water during digestion and slows down the digestive process. Soluble fiber helps you feel fuller for longer and comes from foods such as fruits and vegetables, nuts and beans. Insoluble fiber passes through the body more quickly, absorbing nothing. Insoluble fiber is often used to promote regularity, as it increases the rate and ease with which stool passes through the bowels. Insoluble fiber is found in many whole grains and vegetables. Some foods contain both types of fiber, while others contain only one.
Strawberry Seeds and Digestion
Strawberries contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. When it comes to their digestion, however, there is some controversy over the strawberry seeds themselves. People with inflammatory digestive disorders, such as diverticulitis, were historically advised to avoid foods containing small seeds for fear of digestive tract irritation. However, the National Digestive Disorders Information Clearinghouse reports that strawberry seeds, along with seeds from other fruits such as tomatoes and raspberries, are currently considered safe for most people with the disorder. One and one-fourth cups of strawberries, according to MayoClinic.com, contain 3.8 grams of fiber. Once the nutrients are absorbed from the fruit, the fiber, seeds included, pass through the digestive system.
Flax Seeds and Digestion
Like strawberries, flax seeds contain both types of fiber. In addition to their high protein and omega-3 fatty acid content, flax seeds are a rich source of dietary fiber and are often used to promote regularity. The protein and fatty acids are absorbed into the body, while the fiber components of flax seeds pass through the digestive tract and are eliminated as part of the stool. Flax seeds can be eaten whole, though most of the fiber is found in the outer shell. Ground flax or flax seed powder can be sprinkled over foods. Flax seed oil, which is extracted from the seeds and contains none of the seeds’ fiber, is absorbed upon digestion.
The fiber content of both strawberries and flax seeds can improve digestion for many people. If you have digestive problems, talk to your doctor about the appropriate amount of fiber for your particular needs. If you have digestive disorders that cause chronic intestinal or colon irritation, your doctor may advise you to avoid excessive fiber until the irritation subsides. In addition, large amounts of fiber in your diet can actually increase digestive symptoms, causing loose stools or stools that are too bulky to pass. Drink plenty of water when eating high-fiber foods to reduce your risk for associated digestive symptoms. Before taking any dietary supplements, such as flax seeds, for digestion, talk to your doctor about the potential risks.
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Erica Jacques is an occupational therapist and freelance writer with more than 15 years of combined experience. Jacques has been published on Mybackpaininfo.com and various other websites, and in "Hope Digest." She earned an occupational therapy degree from Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh, Scotland, giving her a truly global view of health and wellness.