Food With High Insoluble Fiber


Food With High Insoluble Fiber. Improve your health and digestion with the high-fiber foods in this blog. From fruits to vegetables and whole grains, learn which foods can help you feel fuller longer, reduce constipation and protect against colon cancer.

What’s the Difference between Soluble and Insoluble Fiber?

What's the Difference between Soluble and Insoluble Fiber?

Although it is commonly known that eating fiber is important for health, studies have shown that most Americans are not getting enough fiber in their diets.1 On top of that, some may find it confusing to differentiate between the two types of fiber, their roles, and required amounts.

Luckily, learning the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber is easy and will help you compose your meals to ensure that your nutritional needs are fully met.

What Is Fiber?

Dietary fiber is a type of complex carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. It occurs naturally in plant foods.

Fiber, also known as roughage, comes in two types: soluble and insoluble. Most plants have both types, but in varying amounts.

While fiber is most commonly associated with digestive health benefits, it serves other essential roles in the human body.

Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber dissolves in water and turns into a gel-like substance, which slows down digestion as it moves down the digestive tract.

Studies have shown numerous benefits of eating soluble fiber, including:

  • Lowering cholesterol. A diet rich in soluble fiber can help reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels in the blood, commonly called “bad” cholesterol. Research is also looking into its potential cardioprotective effects, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
  • Regulating blood sugar levels. Soluble fiber slows down sugar absorption into the bloodstream, which helps prevent sudden blood sugar spikes. Its regular consumption may possibly lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Promoting healthy gut flora. Soluble fiber can be digested and used as food by the “good” bacteria in the gut, thus promoting their growth. Those beneficial bacteria have been linked to various benefits, such as strengthening the immune system, relieving depression, and more.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight. Soluble fiber slows down gastric emptying and helps regulate appetite by increasing perceived satiety. This may prevent overeating and help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.

Best soluble fiber sources include oats, avocado, psyllium, beans, lentils, pears, Brussels sprouts, and chia seeds. Note that some of these foods contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.


Insoluble Fiber

Insoluble fiber, as the name suggests, does not dissolve in water. It adds bulk to stools and helps promote faster movement of food through the digestive tract, acting as a “broom.”

Regular consumption of insoluble fiber has shown to offer the following benefits:

  • Relieving constipation. A diet rich in insoluble fiber produces soft, bulky stools and keeps bowel movements regular. By that, it not only prevents constipation, but may also help relieve it.
  • Promoting intestinal health. A fiber-rich diet may lower the risk of hemorrhoids. Initial research has also suggested that insoluble fiber might promote bowel health by preventing colon cancer.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight. Similar to soluble fiber, insoluble fiber creates a sensation of fullness, thus preventing hunger pangs and aiding weight management.

Best insoluble fiber sources are brown rice, carrots, cucumbers, potatoes, and wheat bran.

How to Consume Enough Fiber

Proper digestive function depends not only on the amount of fiber one consumes, but also on a healthy balance between the two types.

Did You Know?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services every 5 years.

According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, men should strive to consume 30-34 grams of fiber daily, while women are recommended to eat 22-28 grams per day.2

For reference, one cup of raspberries has 8 grams of fiber, one cup of boiled green peas has 9 grams of fiber, and one cup of cooked quinoa offer 5 grams of fiber.3

Adding more fiber to everyday meals could not be easier. Snacking on nuts, sprinkling chia or flax seeds over yogurt, and buying a whole grain bread are great ways to boost your daily intake.

Some healthy breakfast ideas include this quinoa breakfast bowl, overnight oatmeal with berries, tropical lucuma pineapple smoothie, and flax and psyllium bread with chia blueberry jam.

However, if you are looking to boost your fiber intake, make sure to start slowly as consuming too much fiber at once can lead to bloating, cramping, gas, and other unpleasant symptoms. Also, remember to keep up with proper hydration to boost digestive function.

You will know when your body is lacking fiber. The good news is that you can easily make some dietary adjustments to fix the problem. For most people, eating nutritious, well-balanced meals is all that they need in order to keep digestion running smoothly.

All About Fiber

January is Fiber Focus Month and it couldn’t fall at a better time. Almost every popular New Year’s Resolution can be more successful by adding fiber! So what is fiber? Dietary fiber is a type of non-digestible carbohydrate found in plant foods. There are two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps remove cholesterol from your body, which is good for heart health. Both types of fiber increase feelings of fullness are good for regular bowel movements. Adults should be aiming for 25 – 35 grams of fiber each day, although most are only getting an average of 16 grams per day. Keep reading to learn why fiber is such an important part of a healthy diet.

Eat Smart with fiber rich foods

Dietary fiber is found in whole grains, fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds. By focusing on increasing your fiber, you’ll end up eating more plant foods, which are important for a healthy diet.  

Drink Smart with a high fiber diet

As you increase the amount of fiber in your diet, you also need to increase how much water you’re drinking at the same time. Fiber helps keep you regular, but increasing fiber in your diet too much or too quickly can cause digestive discomfort.

Slim Down with high fiber foods

Fiber can help you feel fuller, longer. This helps many people in their weight loss journeys. Foods high in fiber also tend to be more nutrient-dense, meaning they have more nutrients per calorie than low fiber foods. So by swapping low fiber foods for their higher fiber alternatives, you’ll get more nutrition, fewer calories, and feel just as satisfied. Talk about a powerful weight loss strategy!

Stay Healthy with fiber

Diets high in fiber have been shown to improve health. Dietary fiber, as part of an overall healthy diet, helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and may lower risk of heart disease. Fiber is important for proper bowel function. It helps reduce constipation and diverticulosis. Diets rich in foods containing fiber may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. As you can see, fiber has a powerful effect on health.

Good sources of fiber

Some of the best sources of dietary fiber are beans and peas, like navy beans, split peas, lentils, pinto beans, and black beans. Vegetables high in fiber include artichokes, collard greens, sweet potatoes, pumpkin and other winter squash, potatoes, and parsnips. Fruits that are good sources of fiber include pears, avocados, apples, raspberries, blackberries, prunes, and figs. Whole grains, like bran and wheat cereals (choose plain varieties instead of sweetened ones), whole grain crackers, bulgur, air popped popcorn, oatmeal, or whole wheat pasta, are all fiber-rich options. Finally, nuts and seeds, such as pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, almonds, sunflower seeds, and peanuts, are good sources of fiber, too.

Chart of foods high in fiber from The 2010 Dietary Guidelines. You can find a longer chart in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines here.

Soluble and Insoluble Fiber: What’s the Difference?


Soluble and Insoluble Fiber

While neither soluble nor insoluble fiber is digested or absorbed, each type provides health benefits.

Types of Fiber

Soluble fiber: Soluble fibers include pectin, beta glucan, gums, and mucilages. They absorb water to form a gel-like substance, which slows digestion. Soluble fiber binds to cholesterol-containing bile acids preventing absorption. As a result, it is linked to a reduction in LDL (bad) cholesterol. It has also been found to slow the absorption of sugar in those with type 2 diabetes, which results in better blood glucose control.

Sources: Oat bran, barley, nuts, lentils, beans, peas, apples, pears, and citrus fruits.

Insoluble fiber: Insoluble fibers include cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin. These fibers add bulk by retaining water, which speeds digestion and prevents constipation.

Sources: Wheat bran, brown rice, broccoli, cabbage, dark leafy greens, and raisins.

Recommended Intake

Most plant-based foods contain both soluble and insoluble fibers. Instead of tracking your intake of each type, health professionals recommend eating a variety of fiber-rich foods to get the soluble and insoluble fiber you need. Adults should aim to get 25 to 35 grams of dietary fiber each day.

Due to fiber’s role in digestion, a rapid increase in intake can result in bloating, cramping, and gas. When adding more fiber-rich foods to your eating plan, gradually add a few grams per week over several weeks until you reach the recommended amount. Increasing your water intake can also help ease the effects of increased fiber.

Fiber and Weight Loss

High-fiber foods have been associated with improved weight loss. These foods often have a texture that requires more chewing, which slows how quickly you finish a meal. Slower eating leads to mindful eating and a feeling of fullness. Many high-fiber foods, such as fruits and vegetables, are also low in calories. Additionally, high-fiber foods may keep you feeling full longer to prevent high-calorie snacking between meals.

Food With High Insoluble Fiber

Insoluble fibre is indigestible carbohydrate that does not dissolve in warm water. Insoluble fibre is the type of fibre that adds bulk to our stools helping to pass solids out more easily.

Insoluble fibres found in our diet include cellulose, hemicellulose and lignins.

Insoluble fibre is important for maintaining good gut health. Good sources of this form of fibre are vegetables, fruit and whole grains.

Health benefits

Insoluble fibre is helpful for the health of our gut in the following ways:

  • Promotes movement in the bowel
  • Prevents constipation
  • May help to reduce the risk of haemorrhoids (piles) and diverticulosis Helps good gut bacteria to grow

Which foods contain insoluble fibre?

Good sources of insoluble fibre include:

  • Wholegrain foods such wheat bra, brown rice and couscous
  • Root vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips and potatoes
  • Celery, cucumbers and courgettes
  • Fruit with edible seeds
  • Beans, pulses and lentils
  • Nuts and seeds

In terms of fruits and vegetables, the skins are a particularly good source of insoluble fibre.

Insoluble fibre, bowel movements and constipation

The bowel is a muscular organ that contracts to move contents through. Insoluble fibre helps by adding bulk and moisture to stools which makes it easier for the bowel to steadily push its contents through and therefore helps to prevent constipation.

Because insoluble fibre helps to give stools moisture, it is important to drink the recommended intake of fluids, which in the UK is 6 to 8 cups, or around 1.2 litres, of non-alcoholic fluid.

Insoluble fibre, haemorrhoids and diverticulosis

Haemorrhoids, also known as piles, is a swelling of tissue in the rectum or anus which can be caused by persistent constipation. Having to regularly strain to pass solids can put excess pressure on the blood vessels close to the anus, causing the area to become swelled.

Diverticulosis is when bulges form on the inside of the colon (large intestine) and cause bacteria to get trapped and can result in symptoms such as feeling sick, having a high temperature and rectal bleeding. Having a diet with an adequate source of insoluble fibre can reduce problems associated with diverticular disease.

Insoluble fibre and gut bacteria

Our gut contains helpful bacteria which are essential for the health of our digestive system. Helpful gut bacteria play a key role in helping to digest food for energy and promoting immune health.

Gut bacteria feed off insoluble fibre and so this form of fibre is needed to help maintain a healthy level of helpful gut bacteria.

Insoluble fibre and blood glucose levels

People with diabetes will want to strike a balance between having food with a good source of insoluble fibre and keeping blood glucose levels stable.

Some good sources of insoluble fibre such as potatoes and whole grain foods are relatively high in carbohydrate so should be eaten in moderatio, particularly if after meal blood glucose levels are consistently too high.

Generally speaking, non-starchy vegetables and fruits with lower carbohydrate content are a good way of getting insoluble as well as soluble fibre into your diet whilst not raising blood sugar levels too high. Non-starchy vegetables are particularly good for people looking to lose weight.

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