Ever wondered what’s the difference between soluble and insoluble fibre?

Ever wondered what’s the difference between soluble and insoluble fibre?

We all know eating fibre from vegetables helps us have healthy bowel movements. Fibre is found in fruit, vegetables, beans, lentils and whole grains such as oats and brown rice. There are two types of fibre; soluble and insoluble, both of which are not digested and absorbed into your bloodstream. Because they are undigested they provide zero calories to your diet.

Soluble fibre

Soluble fibre forms a gel when mixed with liquid and removes both diarrhoea and constipation. It regulate blood sugar for people with diabetes by prolonging the time it takes your stomach to empty and therefore slows the amount of sugar released and absorbed into your bloodstream. It binds also with fatty acids, and reduces the risk of heart disease by lowering LDL cholesterol.

It’s plentiful in vegetables like carrots and potatoes, fruits such as coconuts, bananas and apples, grains such as oats, oat bran, barley and rye, and beans and pulses such as black beans, lentils and chickpeas.

Foods containing soluble fibre include:

  • Chia seeds, 11.3g per ½ cup
  • Purple passion fruit, 6.5g per ½ cup
  • Psyllium husk, 3.5g per 1 tbsp
  • Coconut fresh, 3.9g, 1 medium
  • Metamucil, 3.4g per 1 tbsp
  • Oat/Oat bran, 2.2g per ¾ cup
  • Legumes (½ cup)
    • Black beans, 2.4g
    • Navy beans, 2.2g
    • Chickpeas, 2.1g
    • Kidney beans, 2.0g
  • Soy (½ cup)
    • Tofu, 1.9g
    • Edamame, 1.5g
  • Vegetables (½ cup)
    • Avocado, 2.1g
    • Brussels sprouts, 2.0g
    • Sweet potato, 1.8g
    • Asparagus, 1.7g
    • Turnip, 1.7g
    • Carrots cooked fresh, 1.1g
  • Fruit
    • Dried figs, 1.9g per ¼ cup
    • Orange, 1.8g, 1 medium
    • Apple, pear, apricot, and nectarine with skin, 1.2g, 1 medium
    • Banana, 0.7g, 1 medium
  • Flaxseeds, 1.1 g per 1 tbsp

Insoluble fibre

Insoluble fibre passes through our intestines largely intact, does not dissolve in water and can be broken down by the bacteria in your gut. It adds bulk to your stool, helping it pass more quickly through your body promoting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation. It helps also by quickly removing toxic waste through your colon.

Foods containing insoluble fibre include:

  • Chia seeds, 33.9g per ½ cup
  • Coconut fresh, 31.8g, 1 medium
  • Wheat bran, 11.3g per ½ cup
  • All Bran cereal, 7.2g per ⅓ cup
  • Legumes (½ cup)
    • Lentils, 7.2g
    • Kidney beans, 5.9g
    • Pinto beans, 5.7g
    • Navy beans, 4.3g
    • Chickpeas, 4.2g
  • Most Whole grains (½ cup)
    • Bulgur, 4.2g
  • Flax seeds, 2.2g per 1 tbsp
  • Vegetables (½ cup)
    • Okra, 3.1g
    • Turnip, 3.1g
    • Peas, 3.0g
    • Carrots cooked fresh, 1.5g
  • Fruits
    • Apple, 2.7g, 1 medium
    • Banana, 2.1g, 1 medium

Chia seeds and flaxseeds are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fibre, and can easily be added to cereal, smoothies and salads.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.

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