Soluble fiber is a form of fiber that dissolves in water, according to Mayo Clinic. When it dissolves, it slows digestion and thickens stools. Soluble fiber is found in citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and grapefruits. This type of fiber is also found in oat bran, nuts and beans, as well as barley. Carrots, peas and apples are also good sources of soluble fiber.
Fiber is an essential component of a healthy diet. According to Mayo Clinic, women ages 19 to 50 are advised to consume 25 grams of fiber per day, while men in the same age group are to consume 38 grams daily. There are two types of fiber; soluble and insoluble, and both provide important benefits to overall health.
Unlike soluble fiber, insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. Insoluble fiber is present in whole wheat flour, whole grain foods like whole grain bread and some vegetables. In addition, insoluble fiber speeds up digestion, forcing stool to move more quickly out of the body, which eases constipation.
Benefits of Fiber
Fiber adds bulk to stools, which makes them easier to pass. Research suggests that soluble fiber lowers cholesterol and reduces the risk for heart disease. In addition, medical experts believe that soluble fiber helps keep blood sugar levels steady, and potentially reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. In addition, fiber is able to help a person lose weight. Foods high in fiber keep a person feeling full longer and helps reduce daily calorie intake.
Increasing Fiber in the Diet
To begin increasing fiber in the diet, switch from white bread to whole wheat varieties. Choose baked goods made with whole grain flour instead of white, recommends Mayo Clinic. Choose whole wheat pasta and brown rice. Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables each day, and incorporate beans into the diet. Avoid processed foods, which are usually low in fiber.
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