Written by Dr. Karen Zaghiyan, originally published April 8, 2019
Fiber is a necessary part of healthy digestion. While many supplements exist on market, the best way to get your daily fiber intake is through a healthy and well-balanced diet containing fiber-rich foods and consumption of adequate water to keep your bowels regular.
Soluble vs Insoluble Fiber
Are you confused about soluble and insoluble fiber and which you should add to your diet? This is a common question and there’s a simple explanation: In basic terms, SOLUBLE fiber absorbs water and turns into a gel (think oatmeal), helping slow digestion. INSOLUBLE fiber doesn’t dissolve in water (brown rice, whole wheat and bran, nuts) – it increases the bulkiness of stool passing through and makes it easier to pass.
Soluble fiber reduces your body’s absorption of cholesterol and sugars and can help reduce bad cholesterol and diabetes. By slowing digestion, it can also help diarrhea, keep you full longer and even help you lose weight. Solublefiber can also increase gas production.
Insoluble fibers help with constipation, hemorrhoids, anal fissure and diverticulosis. Most foods contain both types but may be higher in one vs. the other. In general, a 25-35 gram daily fiber diet is recommended – 6 grams should be insoluble fiber.
Most fiber supplements are highest in soluble fiber, including Psyllium which is 70% soluble. Read the labels. This is also why most supplements produce gassiness. On the other hand, chia and flax seed contain mainly insoluble fiber.
Here are some tips to help you incorporate fiber into your daily diet:
- A well-balanced diet with both kinds of fibers is best
- Adding fiber to your diet gradually can help minimize bloating and gas
- Drink plenty of water to help the fiber move through your gut
- Remember, it is possible to go overboard and get too much fiber so if you feel that the diet is not agreeing with your system consult your doc or a nutrition expert
How To Get Your Fiber
Below, you’ll find my top 10 list of high fiber foods to enjoy seasonally and if you’re lucky, all year round:
Don’t get bored with your fiber rich diet! Mix it up as the seasons progress to keep it interesting and keep your gut and health in top shape!