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Suffering with IBS? An Increase in Soluble Fiber May Help

Updated on July 18, 2016

Find out Which Food Items are Highest in Soluble Fiber

Your doctor may have recommended that you increase soluble fiber to alleviate IBS symptoms. Here are some foods high in soluble fiber that may help calm that wretched irritable bowel syndrome.

(c) Copyright Kathy Steinemann

There is much more information available about IBS today than there was just a few years ago. The consensus is that decreasing insoluble fiber and increasing soluble fiber will help both IBS diarrhea and IBS constipation.

What is Soluble Fiber?

Soluble fiber is composed of substances that dissolve in water to form a gel. Soluble fiber bulks up stool, lengthens the time that food remains in the stomach, and helps everything slide through the intestinal tract without irritation. Because of the longer transit time, this type of fiber helps you feel full longer.

Fiber supplements containing inulin or oligosaccharides also act as prebiotics, which feed the probiotics, or good bacteria, in your gastrointestinal tract.

In addition, soluble fiber helps to lower bad (LDL) cholesterol. There are other health benefits, but the most important for anyone who suffers from irritable bowel syndrome are the positive effects on the digestive process.

How Can You Increase your Intake of Soluble Fiber?

Unfortunately, most food labels display only total fiber.

If you have searched the Internet for information, you are probably aware that most websites display only total fiber. Trying to reach a target of 50% soluble fiber in your diet seems almost impossible. However, the following list should help.

Take a look at the items below. Foods and supplements are sorted by percentages of soluble fiber.

Note: These are fiber ratios.

For example, Collard greens have a total of 1.3 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup. Of that fiber, 85% (or 1.1 grams) is soluble.

Knowing the percentage allows you to look at a food label and estimate the soluble fiber by multiplying the total fiber times the percentage displayed after each food. This is not an exact science, but it will definitely help you to make the right fiber decisions. If anything is a trigger for you, please avoid it.

A Few Foods with a High Soluble:Insoluble Fiber Ratio

• 100% soluble fiber content:
Benefiber fiber supplement
Citrucel fiber supplement

• 80% or higher:
Collard greens
Psyllium husk
Tangerines
Yerba Prima fiber supplement

• 70% or higher:
Artichokes
Kiwifruit, raw, w/skin
Water chestnuts

• 60% or higher:
Apricots, raw
Asparagus, cooked
Brussels sprouts, cooked
Grapefruit
Melons, watermelon
Oranges, raw, flesh only
Squash, winter, cooked
Tofu

• 50% or higher:
Applesauce
Apricots, dried
Bananas
Beans, baked
Beans, string
Bread, pita, white
Bread, pumpernickel
Broccoli, cooked
Cabbage, cooked
Carrots, cooked
Cashews
Currants, dried
Flour, oat
Flour, white
Heartland Granola
Jicama, raw
Konsyl fiber supplement
Mango, raw, flesh only
Metamucil fiber supplement
Oat bran, cooked
Oatmeal, cooked
Onions, raw, chopped
Parsnips, cooked
Peaches, no skin, canned
Plums, raw
Potato chips
Potatoes, French fries
Potatoes, mashed
Potatoes, sweet, baked
Potatoes, sweet, peeled
Potatoes, with skin
Prunes, dried
Puffed Rice
Raisins
Squash, acorn, baked
Turnips, cooked
Wheaties

Be sure to check out Kathy's books:

The IBS Compass: Irritable Bowel Syndrome Tips, Information, Fiber Charts, and Recipes. This book will help you set a course to better health.

IBS-IBD Fiber Charts: Soluble & Insoluble Fibre Data for over 450 Items, Including Links to Internet Resources - helping you to monitor fiber intake, no matter where you are.

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