Insoluble Fiber

Insoluble Fiber Prevents Disease By Moving Things Along

The dietary fiber in food accomplishes two major tasks during digestion:

  • Insoluble Fiber causes wave-like contractions to move food through the intestines and waste out of the colon
  • Soluble Fiber activates beneficial bacteria to complete the digestion process

What is Insoluble Fiber?

Dietary fiber is found in foods we cultivate, such as grains, fruits and vegetables, and it’s essential to good gastrointestinal health. The insoluble part of dietary fiber does not break down in the intestinal tract, but it does help keep the acidity balanced so that enzymes and bacteria can efficiently complete the digestion process.

In plant foods insoluble dietary fiber is more prevalent in parts like the stalk of celery or the the skin of an apple, where it helps provide structure and form.

In our diet, insoluble dietary fiber provides an important transport function, which helps move food through the digestive tract and waste out of the body.

The insoluble-type of fiber is the bulk or roughage that we need to clear our stomach and intestines of undigested food waste and toxins and to prevent constipation and disease.

What Does It Do for You?

Fiber has the reputation of giving your gas and causing social embarrassments. But that’s not exactly true. Insoluble fiber does not cause intestinal gas and, in fact, helps to relieve gas problems associated with the bacteria stimulation caused by the prebiotic nature of soluble fiber.

Both insoluble and soluble fiber provide many health benefits making it well worth your while to add more foods high in dietary fiber to your daily eating habits.

The insoluble-type fiber provides some important health benefits that you should know. By accomplishing its tasks, insoluble fiber offers significant results.

Task Result
To balance intestinal acidity which keeps flatulence in check. Neutralizes intestinal gas.
To signal your brain when adequate food is in your stomach, which helps you feel full and satisfied longer. Good for weight control.
To move waste through intestinal tract, which relieves bloating and prevents cramping. Prevents constipation and other bowel disorders.
To remove toxins from digested food waste, which helps maintain acidity balance and prevents toxins from entering the bloodstream. Lowers your risk of disease.
To increase stool bulk and softness, which lowers risk of diverticulitis. Prevents colon damage.


Which Foods?

Foods high in fiber contribute both soluble and insoluble components to your diet. You must consume adequate amounts of both types of fiber to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria activity and nutrient digestion through the gastrointestinal tract.

When Adding Fiber
Make 1 change at a time.
Drink extra water each day.

While all high-fiber foods provide both types of fiber, you get the benefits of insoluble dietary fiber more from foods like 100% whole wheat100% bran, other whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables and many root vegetables.

These foods high in dietary fiber help add insoluble fiber to your diet:

  • fruit with the peel — a small (2 ½ inch diameter) raw peach has 2.0 grams of total fiber, a small apple 3.6 grams.
  • vegetables with the skins intact — 1 small (1 ¾ to 2 ½ inch) baked red potato has 2.5 grams; 1 cup raw summersquash 1.2 grams, or cooked 2.5 grams.
  • leafy green vegetables — 3/4 cup of turnip greens provides 3.8 grams, 1 cup of raw romaine lettuce has 1.0 gram.
  • brown rice — 1 cup long-grain cooked has 3.5 grams.
  • popcorn (which is a whole grain) — 1 ounce air-popped has 4.1 grams, oil-popped 2.8 grams, microwave 4.0 grams.
  • Brazil nuts (2.1 grams/1 ounce), peanuts (2.6 grams/1 ounce), and other seeds and nuts

Healthy adults should consume 25 to 30 grams of total fiber a day to maintain good health. Adding more insoluble fiber to your diet could improve the way you feel.