Fruits with high soluble fiber can help you lower your blood cholesterol levels. High-soluble-fiber foods are those that contain more than 2 grams of this type of hunger-quashing nutrient per 100 grams, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. The following fruits pack a nutritional punch — thanks to their high levels of soluble fiber.
Top 10 Foods High in Soluble Fiber
Dietary fiber is the carbohydrate in plants that your body cannot digest.
Though it’s essential to your gut and overall health, most people don’t reach the recommended daily amounts (RDA) of 25 and 38 grams for women and men, respectively
Both soluble and insoluble fiber help bulk up your stools and can be used as a food source for good bacteria in your large intestine.
Soluble fiber draws water into your gut, which softens your stools and supports regular bowel movements.
It not only helps you feel fuller and reduces constipation but may also lower your cholesterol and blood sugar levels
Here are 10 healthy foods that are high in soluble fiber.
1. Black beans
Black beans are not only a great way to give your dishes a meaty texture but also an amazing source of fiber.
One cup (172 grams) packs 15 grams, which is about what an average person consumes per day, or 40–60% of the RDA for adults
Black beans contain pectin, a form of soluble fiber that becomes gummy-like in water. This can delay stomach emptying and make you feel fuller longer, giving your body more time to absorb nutrients
Black beans are also rich in protein and iron, low in calories, and almost fat-free
Soluble fiber content: 5.4 grams per three-quarter cup (129 grams) of cooked black beans
2. Lima beans
Lima beans, also known as butter beans, are large, flat, greenish-white beans.
They mainly contain carbs and protein, as well as a little fat.
They’re lower in total dietary fiber than black beans, but their soluble fiber content is almost identical. Lima beans also contain the soluble fiber pectin, which is associated with reduced blood sugar spikes after meals
Raw lima beans are toxic when raw and should be soaked and boiled before you eat them
Soluble fiber content: 5.3 grams per three-quarter cup (128 grams) of lima beans
3. Brussels sprouts
The world may be divided into Brussels sprout lovers and haters, but whatever side you’re on, it’s undeniable that this vegetable is packed with vitamins and minerals, along with various cancer-fighting agents.
What’s more, Brussels sprouts are a great source of fiber, with 4 grams per cup (156 grams)
The soluble fiber in Brussels sprouts can be used to feed beneficial gut bacteria. These produce vitamin K and B vitamins, along with short-chain fatty acids that support your gut lining.
Soluble fiber content: 2 grams per one-half cup (78 grams) of Brussels sprouts
Avocados originate from Mexico but have gained popularity worldwide.
Haas avocados are the most common type. They’re an excellent source of monounsaturated fats, potassium, vitamin E, and dietary fiber.
One avocado packs 13.5 grams of dietary fiber. However, one serving — or one-third of the fruit — provides about 4.5 grams, 1.4 of which are soluble
Rich in both soluble and insoluble fiber, avocados really stand out in this regard.
Compared with other popular fiber sources, they contain lower amounts of the antinutrients phytate and oxalate, which can reduce mineral absorption
Soluble fiber content: 2.1 grams per one-half avocado
5. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are high in potassium, beta carotene, B vitamins, and fiber. Just one medium-sized sweet potato packs over 400% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) of vitamin A
What’s more, the average potato contains about 4 grams of fiber, almost half of which is soluble
Therefore, sweet potatoes can contribute significantly to your total soluble fiber intake.
Soluble fiber may be important for weight management. The more of it you eat, the greater the release of gut-satiety hormones, which may help reduce your overall appetite
Soluble fiber content: 1.8 grams per one-half cup (150 grams) of cooked sweet potato
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that grows well in cool seasons. It’s usually dark green, but you can also find purple varieties.
It’s high in vitamin K, which helps your blood clot, and is a good source of folate, potassium, and vitamin C. It also has antioxidant and anticancer properties
Broccoli is a good source of dietary fiber, with 2.6 grams per 3.5 ounces (100 grams), more than half of which is soluble
The high amount of soluble fiber in broccoli can support your gut health by feeding the good bacteria in your large intestine. These bacteria produce beneficial short-chain fatty acids, such as butyrate and acetate.
Soluble fiber content: 1.5 grams per one-half cup (92 grams) of cooked broccoli
Turnips are root vegetables. Larger varieties are usually fed to livestock, but the smaller types are a great addition to your diet.
The most abundant nutrient in turnips is potassium, followed by calcium and vitamins C and K
They’re also great for upping your fiber intake — 1 cup packs 5 grams of fiber, 3.4 of which are soluble
Soluble fiber content: 1.7 grams per one-half cup (82 grams) of cooked turnips
Pears are crisp and refreshing and serve as a decent source of vitamin C, potassium, and various antioxidants
What’s more, they’re an excellent source of fiber, with 5.5 grams in one medium-sized fruit. Soluble fiber contributes 29% of the total dietary fiber content of pears, the main form being pectin
Due to their high fructose and sorbitol contents, pears can sometimes have a laxative effect. If you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you may need to moderate your intake
Soluble fiber content: 1.5 grams per medium-sized pear
9. Kidney beans
Their characteristic shape gave kidney beans their name.
They’re a key ingredient in chili con carne and great source of dietary fiber, complex carbs, and protein. They’re also almost fat-free and contain some calcium and iron
Kidney beans are a good source of soluble fiber, particularly pectin.
However, some people find beans hard to digest. If that’s the case for you, start increasing your kidney bean intake slowly to avoid bloating.
Soluble fiber content: 3 grams per three-quarter cup (133 grams) of cooked beans
Figs were one of the first cultivated plants in human history.
They’re highly nutritious, containing calcium, magnesium, potassium, B vitamins, and other nutrients.
Both dried and fresh figs are great sources of soluble fiber, which slows the movement of food through your intestines, allowing more time for nutrient absorption
Based on anecdotal evidence, dried figs have been used as a home remedy to relieve constipation for years. While one study found that fig paste improved bowel movements in constipated dogs, human-based research is lacking
Soluble fiber content: 1.9 grams per one-fourth cup (37 grams) of dried figs
Gut Health Has an Impact on Just About Everything, So Keep Yours on Track With These 10 Soluble Fiber Foods
Here are the top foods high in soluble fiber including black beans, chickpeas and avocados. Keep this soluble fiber foods list handy for your next grocery trip.
Most of us are familiar with the word fiber and know we’re supposed to be getting a decent amount of it in our diet. But between the stresses of day-to-day responsibilities and trying to get in and out of the grocery store as quickly as possible, making sure we’re actually meeting our daily fiber quota can feel like more trouble than it’s worth.
Eating plenty of fiber is indeed important: It keeps our digestive tract moving and our guts healthy, which brings a wealth of other health benefits with it, including an immune system boost and reduced anxiety. There are two types of fiber—soluble and insoluble. You need both in your diet, but foods high in soluble fiber play a unique role in a healthy gut.
What is soluble fiber?
In general, fiber is a complex carbohydrate that your body can’t digest, explains Lisa Burnett, RD, a registered dietician with Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Human Nutrition.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water and body fluids, according to Cleveland Clinic. So, when it reaches your GI tract, it forms into a gel as it passes through your body and feeds your gut bacteria when it reaches the colon. “The whole role of it is to aid in slowing down digestion,” Burnett says. “So, everything passes through the intestines a lot slower and it promotes good GI health.”
Insoluble fiber absorbs fluids and other materials and forms stool, creating more regular and bulkier bowel movements.
Generally, you need 25 to 30 grams of fiber a day, and about half of that should come from soluble fiber, Burnett says. Getting enough soluble fiber improves gut health, which also has been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, obesity and gastrointestinal cancers, lower cholesterol and promote mental health.
“We also see a huge role in fiber controlling weight,” she adds. “A high-fiber diet helps you feel full longer, which can prevent overeating and hunger between meals.”
Even though the two types of fiber provide different benefits, Burnett says not to worry too much about whether you’re getting enough soluble versus insoluble fiber. “That can be daunting and overwhelming, and just too much,” she says.
Instead, each day, just make sure you’re eating at least two and a half cups of vegetables, about two cups of fruit and about six servings of grain, preferably whole grain. Here are 20 foods that are rich in soluble fiber.
Foods high in 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.
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.
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 half cup.
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.
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.
8. Flax seeds
Add these tiny seeds to cereal and bread to make them more nutritious. Along with being rich in soluble fiber, flax seeds are high in fiber and a good source of omega-3s, too.
9. Sunflower seeds
Sunflower seeds should be a go-to snack. They’re rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals like magnesium and iron, antioxidants, healthy fats and, of course, soluble fiber.
Oats go well in just about anything: bread, granola bars and even cookies. A warm bowl of oatmeal is a filling and healthy breakfast. Oats contain the soluble fiber beta-glucan, which has been linked to controlling blood sugar and reducing your risk of cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes.
10 High Soluble Fiber Foods You Should Add to Your Shopping List ASAP
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.
Insoluble vs. Soluble FIber: What’s the difference?
Understanding the difference between soluble vs. insoluble fiber is a key part of eating for optimal gut health. For starters, there are two types of fiber you should be eating regularly: soluble and insoluble. But what’s the difference, you may ask? Well, soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance as it makes its way through the intestines.
What foods contain the highest amount of soluble fiber?
Think oats (oatmeal and oat bran), fruits, such as apples and pears (with the skin on) and berries, beans, and legumes (lentils, black beans, chickpeas), as well as most nuts and seeds.
What foods contain insoluble fiber?
Meanwhile, insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and can actually speed up digestion. Think whole wheat and wheat bran, other whole grains like brown rice and barley, and many vegetables, including celery, carrots, and zucchini, plus leafy greens such as spinach or lettuce. 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.
What are the benefits of high soluble fiber foods?
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.
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:
What foods contain the highest amount of soluble fiber?
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.
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.
Fiber: 10 grams per 1-oz serving
Chia seeds are little fiber bombs. One tip-off is that it contains soluble fiber: when mixed with liquid, chia takes on the gel-like texture that makes it so excellent in chia puddings.
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.)
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.
Fiber: 9.25 grams per fruit
Aside from being our favorite topping to spread on toast, avocados are loaded with health benefits like healthy monounsaturated fats, potassium, vitamin E, and dietary fiber. Plus, they’re filled with magnesium, which can help you get a better night’s sleep.
9. Sweet Potatoes
Fiber: 6.6 grams per cup
The humble sweet potato is one of a dietitian’s favorite foods for its boatload of health benefits, as they’re a great source of vitamin A, which helps keep skin glowing, and potassium, which helps regulate fluid balance, muscle contractions, and nerve signals. Not to mention, it’s one of the top 10 anti-inflammatory foods some of the longest-living people in the world eat daily in the Blue Zones, and it’s a great high-fiber food for a healthy heart.
Fiber: 2.5 grams per 100-gram serving
If your parents always said that you should eat more fiber-rich vegetables like broccoli, they weren’t exactly wrong. After all, the veggie is loaded with essential nutrients like folate, vitamins A, C, B6, and K. Plus, the fiber helps support a healthy metabolism, too.