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What Is Soluble Fiber? What Are The Health Benefits?

what is soluble fiber

What Is Soluble Fiber?

Let’s Look At The Amazing Health Benefits

There are two main types of fiber, soluble and insoluble and this article is going to show you everything you need to know about soluble fiber.

Fiber is one of the most important things we consume and without enough, our health can suffer irreparably, in fact, bowel cancer is one of the most preventable diseases which in some degree may be prevented by having adequate fiber in your diet. (1)

For this reason, it’s really important to know a bit about something that can prevent a deadly disease, don’t you think?

insoluble fiber

What Is Soluble Fiber

The Jelly Fiber

Soluble fiber is a form of carbohydrate that comes from plants. However, unlike other forms of carbohydrates, soluble fiber cannot be broken down and can therefore not be absorbed by your digestive system.

Essentially, as it moves through your body, it is known to help slow digestion, thus making your stools softer and easier to pass.

Both soluble and insoluble fiber are associated with a number of health benefits, including helping lower cholesterol, stabilizing blood sugar level, and helping weight loss.

It is easy to differentiate between soluble and insoluble fiber: Soluble fiber has the ability to absorb water, which causes it to turn into a jelly-like mush, while insoluble fiber doesn’t have this property.

What’s The Take Away Here?

Your body doesn’t convert fiber into energy, so it passes through undigested.

 

 

fiber foods

What Are Some Foods That Are Rich In Soluble Fiber?

Most foods contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. However, in most cases, they are richer in one type of fiber than the other. Because insoluble fiber can be a little easier on the stomach, some people aim to eat foods with more of this in them.

The following are some of the foods that are rich in soluble fiber:

 

Grains

Grains that contain the highest concentration of soluble fiber include barley, bran, and oats.

Oatmeal contains a total of 4 grams of dietary fiber per serving. 2 out of the 4 grams of this dietary fiber are soluble fiber.

A quarter cup of bran contains 6 grams of dietary fiber.

In addition, one serving of bran cereal contains up to 3 grams of soluble fiber.

Not As Much In:

On the other hand, whole wheat, barley, wheat germ, and bulgur contain 1 gram of soluble fiber each.

 

Fruits and Vegetables

A good number of fruits are a rich source of soluble fiber. These include pears, apples, blueberries, strawberries, plums, cherries, oranges, peaches, fresh and dried apricot, pineapples, grapefruits, dates, raisins, and bananas, among others.

However, pears have the highest amount of soluble fiber, with one large pear having 3 grams of soluble fiber.

Not So Much In:

Such low glycemic vegetables as spinach, string beans, brussels sprouts, squash,  cabbage,  kale, broccoli, baked sweet potato, and zucchini, had 1 gram of soluble fiber.

Higher G.I options such as parsnips, turnips, carrots, as well as baked potato with skin contain at least 1 gram of soluble fiber each.

Still, that’s no reason to avoid such healthy and tasty food choices.

 

Nuts and Seeds

A number of nuts and seeds are also a rich source of soluble fiber. These include peanuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, and sesame seeds. However, peanuts are the richest source of soluble fiber of all nuts.

A quarter cup of dry roasted peanuts will provide you with 1 gram of soluble fiber.
Brazil nuts and almonds provide at least one gram of soluble fiber each per serving.

The Best Is:

When it comes to seeds, flax seeds are the richest source of soluble fiber.
A third of a cup will provide you with 7 grams of soluble fiber.
In addition, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds contain 2.5 grams of soluble fiber each, which also makes them a good source.

What Does This All Mean?

Oatmeal, bran, pears, and flax seeds are great sources of soluble fiber in your diet.

 

 

health benefits of soluble fiber

What Are The Health Benefits of Soluble Fiber?

Eating foods that are rich in soluble fiber is very beneficial to your health.

Essentially, soluble fiber attracts water during digestion, thus forming a gel. This in return helps slow down digestion.

As you can imagine, this is great for reducing the metering of glucose into the bloodstream, making fiber a wonderful substance for anyone concerned about blood sugar levels.

The following are the benefits of including foods that are rich in soluble fiber in your diet plan:

 

Lowering Cholesterol

A diet that is rich in soluble fiber is known to have the ability to bind cholesterol as well as bile acids, leading to excretion as opposed to absorption. (2)

This in return leads to overall lower cholesterol levels in the body.

When cholesterol is consistently reabsorbed in the liver, it can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, heart attack, arterial hardening, stroke, and coronary disease.

This alone should be motivation to ensure you consume enough fiber in your diet.

 

Controlling Blood Sugar

People who are suffering from type 2 diabetes can benefit a lot from eating foods that are rich in soluble fiber.

This is because it is known to slow the emptying of the stomach, thus helping prevent instant spikes in the blood glucose levels.

Foods rich in soluble fiber are particularly ideal for obese people who are also diabetic, because it helps them feel fuller longer, leading to lower caloric intake. In addition, foods rich in soluble fiber also promote weight loss.

This is why so many nutritionists recommend increasing fiber intake to improve weight loss and overall health.

 

Promoting Healthy Bowel Movements

As soluble fiber passes through your digestive system, it soaks up water, thus helping bulk your stool.

This in return helps prevent constipation and diarrhea. One of the problems with the high protein and low carb diet so popular in the west is that people chase high amounts of protein, but often neglect high fiber, vegetable and plant based food choices.  Though high protein diets are perfectly safe, they can often lead to constipation if fiber is lacking.

People who consume foods with a high content of soluble fiber are known to have an easier time when passing stool. This is far better than using harsh chemical laxatives for a problem that may be resolved with a natural solution.

 

Protecting the Heart

As touched upon above, soluble fiber has the ability to attach to cholesterol particles inside your digestive system, leading to their removal out of the body.

This helps reduce the levels of cholesterol in your body as well as the risk of heart disease.

Because oatmeal is a very rich source of soluble fiber, it may offer the best protection to your heart.

Studies show that those who eat a diet higher in fiber are more likely to live longer and have a reduced spectrum of heart issues than those who don’t.

 

Reducing The Risk Of Bowel Cancer

Because dietary fiber including soluble fiber can help maintain digestive health and functional regularity of the bowels, it also reduces the risk of developing bowel cancer. (3)

The risk of bowel cancer significantly increases over the age of 50, so often fiber supplements such as psyllium husks and metamucil are taken as a precautionary measure.

Bowel cancer can often begin with no discernable symptoms and is usually diagnosed later on in the advancement of the disease, so preventing is is of significant importance.

What’s The Take-Home Message Here?

Soluble Fiber Is exceptionally good for your health, especially heart health.

 

healthy hand
What is soluble fiber?

Conclusion

There’s no way around it, you must have adequate fiber in your diet and soluble fiber plays a huge role in this.

Because of its many health benefits, including foods that are rich in soluble fiber in your diet plan is very important.

We’ve shown that plant based foods such as bran, oats, nuts, peaches, barley, and flax seeds all have good sources of insoluble dietary fiber, so it’s worth making them part of your diet.

Knowing that fiber may help to prevent cholesterol and by extension, heart issues, it makes sense to include many of these foods listed above in part of a healthy high fiber eating plan.

Hopefully, after reading this you take into account the need for quality sources of fiber in your diet and aim to get enough every day for its remarkable healthful benefits.

We hope you enjoyed the article “What is soluble fiber – a look at the remarkable health benefits”. If you have any recipes, interesting fiber foods or you’d just like to say something about the article, please feel free to leave a comment below.

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S James

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