SO WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH FIBER ANYWAY?
In this post, I’m going to show you the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber – and the reasons why we need to eat each one (sometimes one more than the other).
Have you ever had digestive issues such as constipation or diarrhea?
Yes it’s true – no one really likes to talk about their digestive troubles… but from time to time, a lot of us have them… and when that happens, we often don’t know how to treat our symptoms.
Too much fiber or too little fiber can often be the cause of digestive troubles.
There are two kinds of fiber – soluble and insoluble.
But what’s the difference?
Soluble fiber dissolves in water, absorbs water and becomes “gel like” during the digestive process. Soluble fiber is very important because it is what softens your “number two” and therefore decreases the risk of constipation. Without soluble fiber, stool can harden, increasing the risk of constipation.
Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water, but adds bulk to stool and helps the food to pass quicker through the stomach and through the intestines. Insoluble fiber is therefore also very important because without it food would not move along the digestive tract and would “get stuck”, causing constipation.
Therefore, both types of fiber are equally important!
25 foods high in soluble fiber
2. psyllium husk
4. sweet potatoes (with skin)
6. brussel sprouts
14. berries (blueberries, raspberries, cherries)
15. chia seeds
16. flax seeds
17. nuts (peanuts, almonds, brazil nuts)
22. legumes (beans, lentils, peas)
23. seeds (sesame, sunflower)
25 foods high in insoluble fiber
1. leafy greens (romaine lettuce, baby spinach)
2. whole grains (brown rice, barley, bulgar, rye)
3. nuts (almonds, walnuts)
4. seeds (pumpkin, flax, sunflower)
5. zucchini’s (with skin)
6. cucumber (with skin)
8. tomatoes (with skin)
9. apples (with skin)
10. pears (with skin)
11. berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cranberries, blackberries)
17. legumes (beans, peas, lentils)
20. bell peppers
23. sweet potatoes (with skin)
24. plums (with skin)
25. apricots (with skin)
How much fiber do we need every day?
Most adults need to get at least 25-35 grams of fiber in their diet every day to maintain a healthy digestive system.
It’s important to eat foods containing soluble fiber and foods containing insoluble fiber to maintain healthy digestion. Therefore, both kinds of fiber are equally important!
If you suffer from constipation, you should increase the amount of fiber you eat every day, get enough vitamin C, eat foods in high in probiotics and DRINK LOTS OF WATER!
If you suffer from diarrhea, you may be getting too much fiber in your diet (for example: eating too many nuts, coconut or legumes in one serving) or your body might be trying to flush out toxins (like if you have a virus). Drink lots of water (so that you don’t get dehydrated), eat a balanced diet and avoid all artificial sweeteners.
Remember that eating a well balanced diet with lots of whole foods is most important for maintaining good health. If you struggle with digestion, try to eat a few foods from each list every day!
A few food items are high in both soluble and insoluble fiber – these contain both (it might be easy to remember to eat these ones).
I hope that this info helps you out!
Liezl Jayne xo
Photographs by Ross Charnock – for liezljayne.com