You may have heard that fibre is an essential part of a healthy diet, but how can you make sure you’re getting enough of it? A good place to start is learning to recognize natural, high-quality fibre sources, which is what this article is all about!
Soluble vs. Insoluble Fibre
First, it’s important to know that not all fibre is created equally. Specifically, there are 2 main types of fibre in the foods we consume, and each type affects our health and bodies in different ways. The main difference between the two is that soluble fibre dissolves in water, while insoluble fibre does not. This seemingly small difference is important, however, especially for those with sensitive digestive systems.
When soluble fibre dissolves, it forms a thick gel in the gut. This helps with healthy weight management by slowing digestion, making you feel fuller, and stabilizing blood sugar levels . But that’s not all! Soluble fibre is basically food for your friendly gut bacteria, helping them thrive and multiply . In other words, soluble fibre is key to a healthier gut.
Insoluble fibre is also important as it adds bulk to the stool, speeding up digestion and helping prevent and relieve constipation . However, insoluble fibre can sometimes worsen pre-existing digestive issues, so consult with your doctor before adding more insoluble fibre to your diet.
All-Natural Sources of Soluble Fibre
Many foods contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, though some may be higher in one or the other. If you are prone to diarrhea or loose stools, foods high in soluble fibre are likely a better choice for you, since soluble fibre slows down digestion instead of speeding it up like insoluble fibre. In fact, soluble fibre can be especially helpful for those living with IBS, whereas insoluble fibre can worsen symptoms .
Without further ado, here are some foods high in soluble fibre:
- Oats and barley
- Lentils and beans such as chickpeas, black beans, and lima beans
- Nuts and seeds
- Certain fruits such as berries, figs, peaches, nectarines, apricots, apples, and tropical fruits
- Certain vegetables including broccoli, brussel sprouts, avocados, sweet potatoes, and turnips
In addition, here is a list of foods that are high in soluble fibre but low in FODMAPs.
If you’re new to the low-FODMAP diet or would like to learn more, read our blog post on IBS and the low-FODMAP diet.
- Bananas, kiwis, and citrus fruits (such as oranges)
- Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries
- Eggplants, zucchinis, green beans, okra, and carrots
- Peanuts, walnuts, and sunflower seeds
- Potatoes (with their skins), summer squashes, and sweet potatoes
Generally speaking, whole food sources of fibre are the healthier option, but supplements can also be a great choice, especially if you’re having trouble meeting your daily fibre needs. One such high-quality soluble fibre supplement is acacia gum, also known as gum arabic. Acacia gum is the resin extracted from the Acacia tree and has long been hailed as a powerful traditional remedy in various traditional medicine systems.
Want to learn more? You may be interested in Acazen, Alpinia Institute’s specially formulated acacia gum fibre supplement. Acazen is 100% plant-based, and 89% of the entire product consists of soluble fibre. Acazen is also gluten-free, odorless, and tasteless, which means it’s super easy to incorporate into almost any diet!
All-Natural Sources of Insoluble Fibre
When it comes to recognizing high-fibre foods of the insoluble type, think of foods that contain lots of roughage. These are the parts of the food that are not digested and instead pass through your body unchanged. Some good examples are the hard-to-chew strings in celery stalks, the skin of apples, or the outer layer of some seeds such as flaxseeds.
In general, high insoluble-fibre foods include:
- Whole grains, such as amaranth, barley, oatmeal, and quinoa
- Beans, legumes, and lentils
- Unpeeled or skin-on fruits like apples, berries, pears, and dates
- Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale
- Nuts and seeds, including almonds, pistachios, and sunflower seeds
When adding either type of fibre to your diet, always make sure to also increase your water intake to get the most benefit. What high-fibre foods do you enjoy eating? Share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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