Which Fiber Should You Take More – Soluble Or Insoluble?

Dietary fibers that pass through the digestive system without breaking down are part of plant-based food items. But they are categorized into two broad types – soluble and insoluble – for convenience of understanding their functions.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water as it is made largely of plant pectin and gums. But insoluble fiber doesn’t because it contains plant cellulose and hemicellulose. Also, most plant contains both types of fibers but their amount varies from one plant to another.

Fiber is important for a healthy digestive system and many other benefits

Advantages of soluble and insoluble fibers

Fiber makes a healthy diet and both types of fibers are great for a healthy gut and digestive system. But soluble and insoluble fibers work differently.

Soluble fiber makes a gel after dissolving in water and this gel has plenty of health benefits like improved digestion, reducing cholesterol level and checking blood glucose. And improved control over blood glucose will prevent development of diabetes.

Insoluble fiber adds water to stool so that it becomes softer and passes without putting any stress on the bowel movement. It improves bowel health by making it regular. Also, it improves insulin sensitivity and could prevent diabetes.

Dietary fiber is good for your gut and it can give many benefits, if taken in the right amount. But researchers are still exploring the health benefits of taking dietary fibers.

Here’re some of the biggest health benefits of dietary fibers

• Weight loss
• Prevent hypertension
• Balance cholesterol level
• Prevent hemorrhoids by regulating bowel movement
• Control blood sugar
• Regulate sanitation signals of the body
• Lowers risk of colon cancer, breast cancer and diabetes

If you increase your dietary food intake by two servings of the whole grain food, you can lower your risk of type 2 diabetes by 21%

Risk associated with dietary fibers

Dietary fibers are good for your health especially gut but only when taken in the right amount and if you accidentally consume more fibers, you will experience side effects like abdominal bloating, gas and pain. These are some of the risks of overconsuming dietary fibers. But there’s little to worry as you can talk to your doctor about these painful symptoms and get medicines.

Increasing dietary fibers isn’t a bad idea but it has to be slow. Talk to your dietician about increasing your fiber intake and follow the doctor’s instructions. Also, you need drinking lot of water in order to have full benefits of the dietary fibers.

Fiber recommendations

Dietary fibers are important but you should know the right amount of fiber that can improve your gut health without causing any uncomfortable symptoms like gas and pain. But people either take less than or consume more of the recommended fiber diet.

Here’s the recommended fiber diet and it includes both soluble and insoluble fibers

• Men up to 50 years – 38 gm/per day
• Women up to 50 years – 25 gm/per day
• Men over 50 years – 30 gm/per day
• Women over 50 years – 21 gm/per day

To increase your daily fiber intake, you need taking a variety of food including fruits, vegetables, legumes and grain. Here’re the food items that can help increase your fiber intake.

• Whole-wheat bread 1 slice – 3gm fiber
• Cooked oat meal 1 cup – 4gm fiber
• Cooked black beans 1 cup – 15gm fiber

Many people choose pills and powder over natural food because it is easier to take medicines. But dieticians suggest natural food as it gives more than fiber. You will get vitamins and proteins with fiber. You should talk to your dietician before taking supplements.

• Processed food has low fiber content than whole food
• Canned food with added fiber usually contains “chicory root” or “inulin”
• Plants give both soluble and insoluble fibers in varying amounts
• Children take time in developing a habit for fiber so parents should consult pediatrics before giving fibers to kids

Sources of soluble fibers

Oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium are good sources of soluble fibers. If you want to increase more fibers, you can sprinkle psyllium over your food or make a hearty soup of different ingredients including carrots, barley, peas and beans. Or you can munch on fruits or snack on dry fruits.

Sources of insoluble fibers

Whole-wheat flour, wheat barn, nuts, beans, cauliflower, green beans and potatoes are great sources of insoluble fibers. To add more fibers to your diet, you can take whole grain toast, oatmeal or a fibrous cereal. Use whole-wheat flour and have more nuts. Consume cauliflower and beans raw.

Final thought

Both soluble and insoluble fibers are necessary and good for your health. They will improve your digestive system and save you from diabetes and certain types of cancers. Also, you can easily add more fibers to your diet with natural food. Or you can talk to your doctor about fiber supplements.

Disclaimer: Fiber is good for health and there are many ways to add fiber to your diet but you should be careful abut food allergy and side effects of symptoms.

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