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Insoluble vs. Soluble Fiber

The Fiber You Should Be Eating

An apple a day may not keep the doctor away, but it sure is a great way to snack on fiber. Getting enough roughage each day will not only keep you regular and prevent a bloated belly, but it's also a great way to reduce your risk of certain cancers such as ovarian and breast. Fiber intake has also been linked to lowering the LDL (aka bad) levels of cholesterol in your body, which can reduce your risk of heart disease.

Women should be getting at least 30 grams of fiber every day. I'm sure you've heard that there are two different kinds — insoluble and soluble fiber. Are you getting enough? Check out the chart below to find out the benefits of each one and to learn which are the best sources.

Insoluble Soluble
Health Benefits
  • Adds bulk to your stool, has a laxative effect, and helps foods pass more quickly through the stomach and intestines
  • Eating enough prevents constipation
  • Slows down digestion and helps your body absorb vital nutrients from the foods you eat
  • Helps regulate blood sugar levels
Sources
  • Whole grains such as wheat, wheat bran, and barley
  • Skins from fruits and root vegetables
  • Fruits such as grapes, dates, avocados, figs, berries, and raisins
  • Veggies such as green beans, onions, zucchini, carrots, tomatoes, broccoli, and leafy greens
  • Nuts and seeds such as almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, and sunflower and sesame seeds
  • Whole grains such as oats and oat bran, rice, quinoa, and barley
  • Beans, lentils, and peas
  • Fruits such as dried apricots, oranges, grapefruit, mango, apples, pears, peaches, coconut, and berries
  • Veggies such as carrots, cucumbers, zucchini and celery
  • Nuts and seeds such as flax seed, chestnuts, and pistachios

Don't worry about which foods are on what list, since your body needs both. Do focus on getting a total of 30 gram a day by eating plenty of whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, nuts, and beans. Not sure you're getting your fill? Find out how to eat 25 grams of fiber in a day.

Image Source: Thinkstock
Join The Conversation
snowdaytoday snowdaytoday 9 years
this was helpful - thanks.
modernbombshell modernbombshell 9 years
I'm also a fan of the Benefiber. I need to get better about remembering to take them though. I'm horrible about getting my fiber from food sources.
emalove emalove 9 years
I get tons of fiber in my diet...mostly soluable, as I eat almost every food on that list.
AMP AMP 9 years
Is there a recommended amount that you shouldn't go over in one meal. Like I know the body can only absorb so much calcium at one time. I wonder if its that way for fiber. I know its always better to spread things out, but I was just wondering if there was an actual number that I shouldn't be going over incase my body doesn't process it all.
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
thanks for this - i didn't know much before reading this. looks like i get enough of both though
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
I eat LOS of those too! I think I am pretty good with it all!
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
I eats lots of both. :)
legalbeagle legalbeagle 9 years
i usually eat a lot of fiber... i used to do weight watchers so my eye is trained to look for it in the nutritional info i just had no idea what the difference was~ thanks!
rumpel2 rumpel2 9 years
I always wondered if soluble fiber counted towards the daily fiber intake!! now i know...thanks FIT!!
chakra_healer chakra_healer 9 years
Soluble fiber is pretty easy to come by through fruits and veggies. But, I found insoluble fiber more difficult to add to my diet due to everything being processed. Fortunately, I eat a cereal in the morning which has 10 grams of insoluble fiber and I add ground flax seed to it which gives me more than half the daily amount in one meal. My other meals combined usually account for the other half.
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