There are two kinds of fibre; soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre dissolves into a gel-like substance when it comes into contact with digestive fluids. Insoluble fibre remains mostly intact and forms bulk for the stools to help keep the GI and bowels moving.

Best Sources of Soluble Fiber

Soluble fibre is found in most plant foods, some more than others. Pulses and legumes contain the most and lots of fruits and vegetables contain good amounts. For a comprehensive list of the fibre content of foods, see the end of this article.

Health Benefits of Soluble Fiber

Like insoluble fibre, soluble fibre will also increase the bulk of the stool and helps to move the contents of the GI tract through to the bowel. Soluble fibre has the added bonus of being beneficial for heart health, weight maintenance, blood glucose control as well as gut health.

Improves Heart Health

While soluble fibre moves through the GI tract it attracts fluid, which is why it’s important to drink plenty of water, especially if you’re having fibre from psyllium husks (the main ingredient of Metamucil) and slippery elm powder. It also attracts other wastes as well as cholesterol, which helps remove them from the body. As it moves through the digestive tract, soluble fiber attracts not only fluids, but also other wastes and cholesterol, particularly LDL (low-density lipoprotein) the “bad” cholesterol.

Lowers Blood Pressure

Another benefit of soluble fibre is to reduce blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. A study published in Nutrition, Metabolism and Cardiovascular Diseases in 2018, found that soluble fibre reduced both the systolic and diastolic readings (the top and the bottom readings).

Protects Against Diabetes

As soluble fibre slows the digestion and absorption of sugars into the bloodstream, which then causes the pancreas to release less insulin thereby protecting the cells from insulin resistance. This is beneficial to those already suffering from Type 2 diabetes as well as those who are at risk of developing it in the future. This 2016 study in Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, showed there were significantly improved fasting blood glucose levels, a marked improvement in insulin resistance and lowered LDL cholesterol levels.

Aids Weight Control

Both types of fiber are crucial for weight control and may even aid weight loss in the absence of dietary restriction, According to a 2018 study in Nutrition soluble and insoluble fibre can be beneficial in not only weight control but weight loss as well.

This benefit comes from the fact that fibre expands with fluid sending messages to the brain, through satiety receptors, that your stomach has had enough. It also slows the release of contents from the stomach, so hte feeling of fullness is sustained and delays the release of the hormone ghrelin which is responsible for sending the message to your brain that you need to eat.

Improves Gut Health

The bacteria that make up our microbiome work to help us digest out food and specifically they act on soluble fiber by fermenting it in the colon. This then fuels the growth of these healthy bacteria. The more of these healthy bacteria in our microbiome the greater the wide-ranging effects on health, including:

  • Improving immunity
  • Decreasing bad bacteria
  • Increasing calcium and magnesium absorption
  • Strengthening bones and improving bone density

Not only does fibre help with all of the above, but as the fibre is fermented, in the gut, it produces SCFA’s (short chain fatty acids) such as; butyrate, acetate and propionate. These SCFA’s have antimicrobial activity with butyrate, specifically, mediating cellular action in many gut cells which modifies gene expression, cell differentiation, gut tissue development, oxidative stress reduction, immune modultion and diarrhoea control. This has the enormaous benefit of potentially lowering the risk of colo-rectal cancer and other diseases of the colon. For more information about this check out this 2017 review article in Animal Nutrition.

Soluble Fibre and Insoluble Fibre Foods List with Fibre Grams (g)

 Fresh & Dried Fruits Serving
Size
Soluble
Fibre (g)
 Insoluble
Fibre (g)
Total
Fibre (g)
 Apple, with skin 1 medium4.21.55.7
 Apricots, dried 4 medium1.81.73.5
 Banana 1 medium2.1.072.8
 Blackberries 1/2 cup3.1.073.8
 Blueberries 1 cup1.72.54.2
 Figs, dried 3 medium3.02.35.3
 Grapefruit 1/2 fruit2.40.73.1
 Kiwi fruit 1 large2.40.83.2
 Orange 1 medium2.11.33.4
 Pear 1 medium0.83.24.0
 Plums 2 medium1.21.02.2
 Prunes, dried 4 medium1.31.83.1
 Raspberries 1/2 cup0.92.33.2
 Strawberries 1 cup1.82.64.4
 Nuts, Seeds & Beans Serving
Size
Soluble
Fibre (g)
 Insoluble
Fibre (g)
 Total
Fibre(g)
 Almonds, raw 1 ounce0.73.54.2
 Black beans, cooked 1/2 cup3.83.16.9
 Black-eyed peas, cooked 1/2 cup2.21.94.1
 Flaxseeds 2 tbsp.2.72.14.8
 Garbanzo beans, cooked 1/2 cup1.22.84.0
 Kidney beans, cooked 1/2 cup2.92.95.8
 Lentils, cooked 1/2 cup2.83.86.6
 Peanuts, dry roasted 1 ounce1.11.22.3
 Pinto beans, cooked 1/2 cup5.51.97.4
 Psyllium seed husks 2 tbsp.7.10.98.0
 Sesame seeds 1/4 cup0.72.63.3
 Split peas, cooked 1/2 cup1.12.43.4
 Sunflower seeds 1/4 cup1.11.93.0
 Walnuts 1 ounce0.62.53.1
 White beans, cooked 1/2 cup3.80.44.2
 Vegetables Serving
Size
Soluble
Fibre (g)
 Insoluble
Fibre (g)
Total
Fibre (g)
 Artichoke, cooked 1 medium4.71.86.5
 Asparagus, cooked 1/2 cup1.71.12.8
 Broccoli, raw 1/2 cup1.31.42.7
 Brussels sprouts, cooked 1 cup1.71.93.6
 Carrot, raw 1 medium1.11.52.6
 Green peas, cooked 1/2 cup3.21.24.4
 Green Beans, cooked 1/2 cup0.81.22.0
 Kale, cooked 1 cup2.15.17.2
 Lima beans, cooked 1/2 cup2.12.24.3
 Okra, cooked 1/2 cup3.11.04.0
 Potato with skin 1 medium2.42.44.8
 Soybeans (edamame) 1/2 cup2.72.24.9
 Squash, summer, cooked 1/2 cup1.31.22.5
 Squash, winter, cooked 1/2 cup1.71.43.1
 Sweet potato, peeled 1 medium2.72.24.9
 Tomato with skin 1 medium0.31.01.3
 Zucchini, cooked 1/2 cup1.41.22.6
 Whole Grains Serving
Size
Soluble  Fibre (g) Insoluble
Fibre (g)
Total  Fibre (g)
 Barley, cooked 1/2 cup3.30.94.2
 Brown rice, cooked 1/2 cup1.30.11.4
 Millet, cooked 1/2 cup2.70.63.3
 Oat bran, cooked 3/4 cup2.21.84.0
 Oatmeal, dry 1/3 cup1.41.32.7
 Oatmeal, cooked 1 cup2.41.64.0
 Popcorn, air popped 3 cups3.20.43.6
 Pumpernickel bread 1 slice1.51.21.7
 Quinoa (seeds), dry 1/4 cup2.53.86.3
 Quinoa, cooked 1/2 cup1.72.54.2
 Rye bread 1 slice1.90.82.7
 Wheat bran 1/2 cup11.31.012.3
 Wheat germ 3 tbsp.3.20.73.9
 Wholegrain bread 1 slice2.80.12.9
 Whole wheat bread 1 slice1.60.31.9
 Wholegrain pasta, cooked 1 cup4.12.26.3