How Do I Get Enough Insoluble Fiber?

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  • Written By: Emma Lloyd
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 15 January 2019
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Getting plenty of fiber is important for good digestion and overall general health, but many people don't know if they are getting the right type of fiber. There are, in fact, two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Both are important for good health and digestion, but for different reasons. To make sure you're getting enough insoluble fiber in your diet, choose whole grains over refined grains whenever possible, and eat plenty of high-fiber vegetables such as dark leafy greens, carrots, zucchini, and cabbage.

Insoluble fiber is known as such simply because it does not dissolve in water. This property of fiber is the reason why eating lots of fiber-rich foods can sometimes have a laxative effect. This type of fiber doesn't absorb water, but instead acts to bulk up stool and help speed its passage through the gastrointestinal tract. Increasing intake of this fiber can be a good strategy for people who suffer from constipation or irregular bowel habits.


To make sure you get enough insoluble fiber in your diet, it's first important to start choosing whole grain food sources rather than refined grains. For example, switch to eating whole grain bread instead of white bread for an easy and significant fiber boost. Eating brown rice instead of white rice is another great strategy, and helps improve your intake of certain vitamins and minerals, too. If you're really not used to eating whole grains, you might find this a little difficult at first, as the taste and texture of whole grain foods is quite different from that of their refined counterparts. It is worth persevering, however, and you'll likely start to appreciate the more complex flavors of whole grains.

In addition to whole grains, most vegetables are excellent insoluble fiber sources. Good sources include vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, carrots, and celery. Cucumbers, green beans, onions, and tomatoes also contain this type of fiber. Leafy greens such as spinach and kale are great sources too. Nuts and seeds are good sources of fiber, but these foods should be eaten sparingly due to their high fat content.

One thing to be aware of if you're planning to increase the amount of insoluble fiber in your diet is that this increase should be carried out gradually. If you start eating lots of fiber all at once, your might experience some unpleasant or painful side effects such as intestinal bloating, gas, and diarrhea. Increasing your fiber intake slowly to allow your body time to adapt will help prevent these side effects.


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Another good way to eat more high in fiber foods is to substitute beans for meat. It doesn't have to be all or nothing. I used to make enchiladas, for instance, with white tortillas and a pound of ground beef. Now I use whole grain tortillas (both corn and flour can be whole grain) and instead of using the whole pound of meat, I use half a pound of meat and a can or refried beans.

That way, not only do I get more fiber, I also cut down on the saturated fat, cholesterol, etc. from the ground beef. And they're just as tasty!

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