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Insoluble Vs. Soluble Dietary Fiber – High Fiber Foods

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Dietary fiber is a carbohydrate that can not be digested. It passes through your body intact, cleaning your intestines as it goes through. It acts as a scrub brush for the intestines. It is only found in plant foods — no animal products contain fiber — such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts.

Insoluble Vs. Soluble Dietary Fiber

Dietary fiber is made up of two types – insoluble and soluble. Both types of fiber go undigested. Therefore, they are not absorbed into the bloodstream. Instead of being used for energy, fiber is excreted.

Insoluble fiber

  • Does not dissolve in water
  • Keeps bowel movements regular because it absorbs water and makes stools softer
  • Moves bulk through the intestines
  • Delays glucose absorption
  • Removes toxic waste from colon
  • Helps prevent colon cancer by balancing the pH level
  • Speeds up the movement of food in the digestive tract
  • Helps prevent hemorrhoids and diverticulosis

Soluble fiber

  • Dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance in the stomach, which slows down the rate at which the stomach empties
  • Slows the movement of food throughout the digestive tract
  • Degraded by bacteria in the colon
  • Bind with fatty acids
  • Not related to regularity
  • Lowers total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol)
  • Controls blood sugar levels in diabetics

Foods High in Insoluble Fiber

  • celery
  • cucumbers
  • green beans & green leafy vegetables
  • seeds & nuts
  • tomatoes
  • wheat bran & wheat oat
  • whole grains: whole wheat breads, barley, couscous, brown rice, whole grain breakfast cereals
  • zucchini

Foods High in Soluble Fiber

  • apples
  • barley
  • blueberries
  • flax seed
  • legumes: dried peas, beans, lentils
  • nuts
  • oat bran
  • oatmeal
  • oranges
  • pears
  • psyllium husk
  • strawberries

More tips

Avoid peeling fruits and vegetables. Eating the skin and membranes ensures that you get every bit of fiber. Whole fruits and vegetables contain more fiber than juice, which lacks the skin and membranes. When you increase fiber in your diet, you must increase your intake of water. You should eat 20-35 grams of fiber each day, including both soluble and insoluble fiber.

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