The Mayo Clinic describes fiber as “ Fiber is commonly classified as soluble, which dissolves in water, or insoluble, which doesn’t dissolve.”
- Soluble fiber. Soluble fibers dissolve and form a gel like consistency- Because soluble fibers are not absorbed, they can provide bulk and smoothness to stool. They can help lower LDL blood cholesterol and control glucose levels. Soluble fiber is found in low FODMAP foods such as oats, citrus fruits, carrots, broccoli , spaghetti squash, turnip and flax , chia or sunflower seeds.
- Insoluble fiber. This type of fiber is not digested and examples are in the skin of the berries ( seeds) or potato skins, green beans, broccoli, turnips, seeds and nuts (Chia, brazil nuts, hemp, peanuts and walnuts, ) . Insoluble fiber provides bulk and roughage and promotes the movement of waste through your digestive system and increases stool volume.
Most foods contain both soluble and insoluble fiber which make up total fiber. For example, each large kiwi fruit contains 0.7 gram of soluble fiber and 1 gram of insoluble fiber and a med white potato which has about 3 grams of total fiber contains the two types of healthy fiber: 1 gram soluble and 2 grams insoluble fiber.
Overall, the highest sources of fiber are found in the following food groups:
- Whole-grain products
- Beans, peas and other legumes
- Nuts and seeds
Though it is a challenge to get the amount of daily fiber 25 gm/fiber/day for women and 38gm fiber/day for men ages . It is certainly attainable.
Fiber supplements — such as Metamucil, Citrucel and FiberCon — don’t provide the variety of fibers, vitamins, minerals and other beneficial nutrients that foods do. Metamucil is a plant based fiber ground into a powder from psyllium husk.. Two Tablespoons of Metamucil contain 6 grams of total fiber- 5 grams of the 6 are soluble fiber.
Whole foods may be better than fiber supplements, but some people may still need a fiber supplement if dietary changes aren’t sufficient or if they have certain medical conditions, such as constipation, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome. Check with your doctor before taking fiber supplements.
Fiber and fluids go hand in hand. Drink at least 8C water a day as soluble fiber absorbs water- making a gel like product which provides bulk and smoothness to stool. Water/fluids are needed for fiber to work!