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Soluble Fiber – why it is so important, explained by a Long Island Registered Dietitian Nutritionist


Fiber types and benefitsFiber is a nutrient found in carbohydrates. Unlike other food components, such as fats, proteins, or carbohydrates, which your body breaks down and absorbs, fiber is that part of the plant that we cannot digest. Instead, it passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine, and colon and out of your body. There are two types of fiber we can get from our diets – soluble and insoluble. Though most high fiber foods contain both groups, one is generally higher than the other.

Soluble fiber functions in our bodies by dissolving in water to form a gel-like material. Put another way, by absorbing water and swelling, a gel-like substance is created during digestion.

Below is an extensive list of the health benefits of soluble fiber:

This is the list I provide of the Top 20 Soluble Fiber Foods:

  • Psyllium husk
  • Flaxseeds
  • Passion fruit
  • Whole grains, like barley, oats/oat bran, amaranth, etc.
  • Lentils and other legumes, like green peas
  • Beans, including black, kidney, white, lima and navy beans, edamame, etc.
  • Tofu and tempeh (fermented soy products)
  • Avocado
  • Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli and other cruciferous veggies
  • Sweet potato
  • Asparagus
  • Turnips
  • Dried figs, prunes, apricots and dates
  • Oranges and nectarines
  • Pears
  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Macadamia nuts

This is the list I provide of the types of soluble fiber:

Table 1: Types of Soluble Fiber

soluble fiber graph








— Source: Tungland BC, Meyer D. Nondigestible oligo- and polysaccharides (dietary fiber): their physiology and role in human health and food. Comp Rev Food Sci Food Safety. 2002;3:90-109.

As a registered dietitian nutritionist working with patients’ individual needs, creating a diet plan that includes soluble fiber is an important step toward achieving weight loss and wellness goals. Increasing soluble fiber intake isn’t difficult. Consider transition to a whole food, plant based, fleitarian plan (like the Mediterranean food plan). Improve your health, one bite at a time!

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