Best Food With Soluble Fiber


The best foods with soluble fiber are a great way to keep your digestive system healthy, while ensuring you feel full throughout the day. Not a lot of people know this, but soluble fiber is actually good for health. It can lower your cholesterol and improve your diet. This article will give you top 3 foods with soluble fiber and will share some additional tips to add more fiber to your diet.

Best Food With Soluble Fiber

1. Black beans

Beans are one of the best sources of soluble fiber. Just one cup of black beans contains 15 grams of fiber, about half of what you need for an entire day. Black beans are rich in antioxidants and the soluble fiber pectin, which delays digestion and allows plenty of time to absorb nutrients. 

2. Chickpeas

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a healthy addition to soups and salads or blended into hummus. They’re also a rich source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, helping lower your risk for heart disease and promoting gut health.

3. Lentils

These quick-cooking legumes can be easily swapped for meat in dishes like soup or chili to make them plant-based, according to Cleveland Clinic. They’re also low in calories, high in protein and contain 8 grams of fiber per each half cup. 

4. Edamame

Edamame is a great addition to salads and stir-fries, and it’s one of just a few plant sources containing all the amino acids your body needs, making them a great option for vegans and vegetarians. And half a cup contains 7 grams of fiber.

5. Lima beans

These flat light green beans, also known as butter beans, are high in fiber and protein. Like black beans, they contain the soluble fiber pectin. Just make sure you soak and boil lima beans since the raw ones are toxic. 

6. Barley

Barley might not be as well known as other grains, but it’s an incredibly healthy food to incorporate into your diet. Just one cup contains 6 grams of fiber. And, research shows it can help lower cholesterol, boost gut health and improve cognitive function as you age.

7. Chia seeds

You probably sprinkle chia seeds on your smoothie bowls, and when you do, you’re getting a fiber boost. Two tablespoons of chia seeds contain a whopping 10 grams of fiber. The seeds also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits and can control diabetes and high blood pressure. They’ll also rev up your immune system and put you in a good mood. 

Foods High in Soluble Fiber

Most plant foods contain some soluble fiber but in varying amounts. According to Dietitians of Canada, beans, peas and oat products are the richest soluble fiber foods. Some examples of foods highest in soluble fiber include:

  • Black beans:​ 5.4 grams in 3/4 cup
  • Lima beans:​ 5.3 grams 3/4 cup
  • Soy nuts:​ 3.5 grams in 1/4 cup
  • Navy beans:​ 3.3 grams in 3/4 cups
  • Pinto beans:​ 3.2 grams in 3/4 cup
  • Purple passion fruit:​ 6.5 grams in 1/2 cup
  • Oat bran:​ 2.2 grams in 3/4 cup, cooked
  • Oatmeal:​ 1.4 grams in 3/4 cup, cooked
  • Avocado:​ 2.1 grams in 1/2 fruit
  • Brussels sprouts:​ 2 grams in 1/2 cup, cooked
  • Dried figs:​ 1.9 grams in 1/4 cup
  • Oranges:​ 1.8 grams in one medium fruit
  • Sweet potato:​ 1.8 grams in 1/2 cup, cooked, without skin
  • Asparagus:​ 1.7 grams in 1/2 cup, cooked
  • Turnips:​ 1.7 grams in 1/2 cup, cooked
  • Broccoli:​ 1.2-1.5 grams per 1/3 cup, cooked
  • Apricots:​ 1.4 grams in three fruits with skin
  • Nectarines:​ 1.4 grams in one medium fruit

7 High-Fiber Foods You Should Add to Your Shopping List, Stat

If you had to give an award to “World’s Sexiest Nutrient,” I’m not sure what would win, but it probably wouldn’t be fiber. Especially soluble fiber. But TBH that’s pretty unfair of us. Fiber offers your body a ton of health benefits (reduced risk of chronic disease, boosted metabolism, reduced inflammation, and better heart and gut health), and unlike protein, you’re probably not eating enough of it.

There are two types of fiber: insoluble and soluble. Insoluble is pretty much the roughage from fruits and veggies that sweeps out your insides and bulks up your stools for regular BMs. On the other hand, “soluble fiber gets its name because it is soluble in water,” says Marjorie Nolan Cohn, RDN, founder and owner of MNC Nutrition, LLC in Philadelphia and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Basically, soluble fiber absorbs water, swells, and creates a gel-like substance during digestion, Nolan Cohn says. That keeps BMs moving, but it also has another power: to keep your heart healthy. “Along with water, the gel-like structure can also absorb fatty acids, so it has an added benefit of reducing cholesterol,” she says.

Soluble fiber is also useful in slowing digestion, something that helps regulate blood sugar levels, says Nolan Cohn. A stable release of glucose into your blood helps prevent blood sugar dips and spikes that trigger hunger and mess with the hormones that play a role in appetite control. Finally, like all fiber, soluble feeds your GI bacteria, and we’re all about a healthy gut these days.

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What are the best foods high in soluble fiber?

Here’s the thing: Fiber-rich foods are going to include both insoluble and soluble fiber—some simply have more of one and less of the other. Don’t stress too much about specific soluble fiber counts; it’s difficult to tell how much soluble fiber specifically is in foods since nutrition labels usually just include total fiber. Aim for 25 grams of total fiber a day, says Nolan Cohn, and you’ll be good.

However, if you want to hedge your bets and ensure you’re getting lots of soluble fiber in the mix, here’s a list of high-fiber foods that generally have a decent amount of soluble fiber, too:

1. Oats

Fiber: 4 grams per cup (cooked)

There’s a reason why “reduces cholesterol” or “is good for heart health” is slapped on oatmeal labels: the cereal contains a type of soluble fiber called beta glucan, which is what gives it its creamy consistency.

2. Black Beans

Fiber: 17 grams per cup

No matter what type of bean you love best, they’re all winners here. But black beans win out, says Nolan Cohn. “One cup of black beans has five grams of soluble fiber—that’s a lot,” she says. Others that get close are navy, red, and kidney beans.

3. Lentils

Fiber: 16 grams per cup (cooked)

If you don’t routinely eat lentils, you’re missing out. Not only are they the perfect source of protein in those grain and veggie bowls you’ve been loving on lately (you know, the ones with the to-die tahini sauce), but they’re also packed with soluble fiber, says Nolan Cohn.

4. Chia

Fiber: 10 grams per 1-oz serving

Chia seeds are little fiber bombs. One tip-off that it contains soluble fiber: when mixed with liquid, chia takes on the gel-like texture that makes it so excellent in chia puddings.

5. Flaxseed

Fiber: 3 grams per tablespoon

Plant-based bakers know that by mixing water with ground flax, you can make a “flax egg.” That’s soluble fiber at work, folks. (Oh, BTW, if you’re on the keto diet, know that the tablespoon has 3 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fiber. That means 0 net carbs—making flaxseed a good way to get more fiber into a diet where fiber may be lacking.)

6. Barley

Fiber: 6 grams per cup (cooked)

This is another whole grain that wins accolades for its ability to help control blood sugar and appetite. It’s also the highest fiber whole grain out there, according to Oldways Whole Grains Council.

7. Brussels sprouts

Fiber: 3 grams per cup (raw)

The veggie joins others like broccoli and cabbage as good sources of fiber. If you’re not into the whole ordeal of chopping up your sprouts, buy pre-shredded bags of the veggie to sauté, throw on a pizza, or toss with olive oil and roast.

How can I add more soluble fiber (and fiber in general) to my diet?

Right. The goal may be 25 grams, but most people are getting only half of that amount. That’s a big reason why nutrition experts tell you to fill half your plate with veggies (and fruits) and one-quarter with whole grains—these are all top-notch sources of fiber, and eating this way will help you reach that goal.

If you regularly say things like “I’m just not into vegetables” or “I’m trying to avoid grains,” then you may run low. If you’re really unsure, hook up with a registered dietitian to assess your needs. They may recommend a psyllium husk supplement (a supercharged source of fiber). It often comes in powder form, which you can then stir into yogurt or hot cereal or add to your smoothie to make it more palatable, says Nolan Cohn.

No matter what fiber source you’re going for, the trick is to gradually—one more time for those in the back—gradually increase consumption. “If your body isn’t used to it, increasing fiber intake quickly can lead to GI distress,” Nolan Cohn says. Her recommendation: Don’t add more than three to five grams of fiber per meal to start; two to three grams per meal is on the safer side. Here’s to a happy heart and stomach.

Top 20 Soluble Fiber Foods + Their Benefits

  • What Is Soluble Fiber?
  • Health Benefits
  • Soluble Fiber vs. Insoluble Fiber
  • Top 20 Soluble Fiber Foods
  • Supplement Options and Dosage
  • Risks and Side Effects

Soluble fiber - Dr. Axe

Fiber is a type of material found in carbohydrates that the human body cannot digest. We get two types of fiber from our diets: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Most carbohydrate foods that are high in fiber contain both types, although foods tend to be higher in one kind or another.

What are the benefits of soluble fiber? Soluble fiber attracts water, creating a gel-like consistency in the digestive system that helps slow down digestion, keeps you feeling full between meals and “regular.” It also promotes heart and metabolic health.

Eating soluble fiber — found in high-fiber foods like whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit — can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels, offering some protection against metabolic syndrome, weight gain and conditions like diabetes.

What Is Soluble Fiber?

The definition of soluble fiber is fiber that dissolves in water and is viscous and fermentable. Insoluble fiber is different than soluble fiber because it does not dissolve in water and remains intact while it travels through the digestive system.

One way you can tell if a food is higher in soluble fiber than insoluble fiber is to add water to it. If it appears to absorb water and become gel-like, which happens with foods like flaxseeds or oatmeal, then it contains a good deal of soluble fiber.

What are the best soluble fiber foods? Some soluble fiber foods include oat bran, barley, seeds and legumes like lentils or navy beans. That’s not all. Read on for a lengthier list of soluble fiber foods below.

Health Benefits

1. Promotes Cardiovascular Health

What is soluble fiber good for when it comes to heart health? Studies suggest that eating a diet that’s high in soluble fiber may help lower your risk of developing high cholesterol and heart disease. Research links soluble fiber to lower total and LDL cholesterol levels because soluble fiber binds to cholesterol particles and ushers them out of the body. It can also interfere with the reabsorption of bile acids in the intestines, which are high in cholesterol and released into the intestine by the gallbladder to help with the digestion of fats.

While there are several kinds of soluble fiber, studies suggest that there isn’t much difference in terms of how they positively impact cholesterol. An example of a high-fiber diet that is linked to cardiovascular benefits is the Mediterranean diet, which includes healthy foods like vegetables, legumes, whole grains and nuts.

2. Improves Digestion and Promotes Gut Health

Both types of fiber for important for promoting gut health, preventing constipation by bulking stool, clearing out the digestive system and feeding beneficial “probiotic” bacteria.

Does soluble fiber get digested? Soluble fibers are considered to be prebiotic. This means they are broken down by bacteria in the colon. Soluble fiber helps “feed” beneficial bacteria in the human gut and is fermented by good bacteria that have many roles for promoting health. This process of fermentation can wind up causing gas and bloating in some people but otherwise is a very health-promoting process.

Which fiber is best for diarrhea? If you struggle with loose stools it’s best to focus on increasing soluble fiber intake. Insoluble fiber may make diarrhea worse since it tends to speed up transit time of food through the intestines. On the other hand, if you deal with constipation, increasing insoluble fiber in your diet is a natural way to help reverse the problem.

3. Helps with Metabolic Health and Weight Management

There’s plenty of evidence that diets high in fiber are protective against metabolic syndrome, a condition marked by high levels of belly fat, high triglycerides, low beneficial HDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and sometimes obesity.

Soluble fiber found in carbohydrate foods helps prolong stomach emptying, partially by absorbing water in the stomach and intestines. This increases the feeling of fullness and helps release sugar into the blood more slowly. Because soluble fiber foods can promote satiety, they may help to control your appetite, reduce cravings or snacking between meals, and help with weight loss.

4. Helps Stabilize Blood Sugar Levels

Studies suggest that when it comes to metabolic health, benefits of soluble fiber include its ability to not only lower blood cholesterol and triglycerides, but also blood glucose (sugar) levels. Eating a high-fiber diet can promote insulin sensitivity and help reduce inflammation and prevent obesity, both of which are risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes.

Soluble Fiber vs. Insoluble Fiber

Compared to soluble fiber, insoluble fiber is recommended more for relieving constipation since it adds bulk to the stool and helps move food through the gastrointestinal tract. Insoluble fiber is also beneficial for helping clear out carcinogens and unhealthy particles from the GI tract. That is why it can help prevent diverticulitis, heart disease, diabetes and even colorectal cancer. Insoluble fiber cannot be fully broken down or digested in the GI tract — therefore some people feel that calories from fibrous foods shouldn’t “count” toward their daily calorie intake.

Among the best insoluble fiber foods are wheat bran, oat bran, beans, legumes, vegetables and whole grains. Some of the top insoluble fiber vegetables to include in your diet for digestive health and other benefits are okra, green peas, turnips and radishes.

Top 20 Soluble Fiber Foods

How much soluble fiber per day is recommended?

The USDA recommends that adult men get 30 grams or more of total fiber per day, and adult women aim for 25 grams or more. Yet studies suggest that most Americans typically get less than 15 to 16 grams of total fiber on most days.

You don’t need to spend too much time thinking about how many grams you are getting of each type of fiber, as long as you eat a variety of high-fiber foods and don’t struggle with diarrhea or constipation on an ongoing basis. That said, you may want to specifically focus on increasing your soluble fiber intake if you need help lowering your LDL cholesterol. Consuming five to 10 grams of soluble fiber per day has been shown to help reduce LDL cholesterol levels.

Wondering if potatoes are high in soluble fiber? Are bananas soluble or insoluble fiber?

Let’s take a look at this top soluble fiber foods list:

  1. Psyllium husk
  2. Flaxseeds
  3. Passion fruit
  4. Whole grains like barley, oats/oat bran, amaranth, etc.
  5. Lentils and other legumes like green peas
  6. Beans including black, kidney, white, lima and navy beans, edamame, etc.
  7. Tofu and tempeh (fermented soy products)
  8. Avocado
  9. Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli and other cruciferous veggies
  10. Sweet potato
  11. Asparagus
  12. Turnips
  13. Dried figs, prunes, apricots and dates
  14. Oranges and nectarines
  15. Pears
  16. Apples
  17. Peaches
  18. Carrots
  19. Corn
  20. Macadamia nuts

Supplement Options and Dosage

Ideally you’ll get the fiber you need from eating a diet filled with a variety of unprocessed plant foods. However, in some cases a soluble fiber supplement can be a good addition to your diet, such as to prevent constipation or diarrhea. Fiber supplements come in various forms: powders, pills, chewable tablets or capsules, wafers, chocolates, and more.

The term “functional fiber” is now used to describe fiber that has been extracted from plant or animal sources, manufactured or synthesized and then added to processed foods.

One of the most popular soluble fiber supplements is psyllium husk, which can be combined with water and taken by mouth to help with digestion, cholesterol management and more. Psyllium is soluble fiber that is sourced from the seed husks of plants belonging to the genus Plantago. Fiber supplements including Metamucil and Konsyl are primarily made with psyllium. Other soluble fiber supplements are made with ingredients including powdered cellulose, guar gum, pectin, acacia fiber and wheat dextrin.

It’s best to start with a low dose of a fiber supplement and increase gradually as needed based on your reaction. The amount of fiber in different supplements varies by the product, so always read dosage recommendations carefully.

Risks and Side Effects

To help prevent digestive issues, including bloating or constipation, it’s best to add soluble fiber foods to your gradually and also to drink plenty of water.

It’s possible for fiber supplements to interact with certain medications, such as by lowering blood sugar levels and blocking the absorption of certain drugs. If you take any of the following medications, speak with your doctor before taking soluble fiber supplements:

  • Cholesterol medications
  • Warfarin (Coumadin)
  • Aspirin
  • Seizure medications

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