We often hear about the benefits of getting enough fiber in the diet, but because there are two primary types of fiber—soluble fiber and insoluble fiber—it can be confusing to remember what are the best sources of soluble fiber in the diet.
So, what are some of the foods high in soluble fiber? Do foods with soluble fiber also have insoluble fiber? What are the best soluble fiber foods for weight loss and digestion? What are the benefits of soluble fiber foods?
In this guide, we will discuss the benefits of eating foods with soluble fiber and provide a list of some of the best sources of soluble fiber so that you know which soluble fiber foods you should be adding to your grocery list for optimal health and digestion.
We will look at:
- What Is Soluble Fiber?
- How Much Fiber Should You Have Per Day?
- Soluble Fiber Foods: What Foods Are Highest In Soluble Fiber?
Let’s get started!
What Is Soluble Fiber?
Before we delve into the list of the best foods high in soluble fiber, let’s discuss what soluble fiber is and why it’s important to eat foods high in soluble fiber.
Most people associate getting enough fiber in the diet with supporting good digestion, and while this is true, there are additional benefits of eating soluble fiber foods.
There are actually two primary types of dietary fiber—soluble fiber and insoluble fiber—both of which are important to get in your diet.
Soluble fiber is called soluble vs insoluble fiber because it dissolves in water or other fluids in your body.
As it dissolves in the fluids, the soluble fiber forms a gel-like consistency in your digestive tract.According to the Cleveland Clinic, this characteristic gel-like substance imparts several health benefits due to its consistency and how it affects the absorption of other substances and nutrients in your body.
For example, some of the health benefits of soluble fiber foods include reducing cholesterol and blood sugar levels, helping you feel fuller longer, and lowering the risk of heart disease.
Most doctors and healthcare professionals particularly emphasize the importance of eating foods high in soluble fiber to reduce cholesterol.
One study found that a daily supplement of 3 grams of soluble fiber reduces bad cholesterol by an average of nearly 18%.
Another soluble fiber benefit is that this type of fiber nourishes the beneficial bacteria in your gut microbiome.
In fact, although our own bodies can’t actually digest soluble fiber, it’s the preferred fuel source for these healthy gut bacteria and thus serves as a prebiotic.
This is another reason why soluble fiber can help lower cholesterol, as research has found that the bacteria inhabiting your gut microbiome are instrumental in the production and regulation of cholesterol levels in your body.
Studies have also shown that pectin, a type of soluble fiber, can reduce spikes in blood sugar after eating by slowing the rate of digestion and subsequent release of glucose into the bloodstream.
Soluble fiber also helps you feel fuller for a longer period of time because it slows the emptying of food from your stomach to your intestines for further digestion.
In this way, eating foods high in soluble fiber can help control your appetite and potentially support weight loss by reducing overeating and reducing appetite between meals.
How Much Fiber Should You Have Per Day?
The Institute of Medicine reports the following daily fiber recommendations for adults based on age and sex:
|Age 50 or younger||Age 51 or older|
|Men||38 grams||30 grams|
|Women||25 grams||21 grams|
Soluble Fiber Foods: What Foods Are Highest In Soluble Fiber?
Many high-fiber, plant-based foods contain a blend of soluble and insoluble fiber, and it’s important to get a balance of both in your diet since the functions and benefits of each type of fiber are different.
#1: Beans and Lentils
When people are posed with the question, “What foods have the most fiber?” one of the most common answers is beans.
Beans and all legumes are indeed one of the best sources of soluble fiber and dietary fiber and general.
For example, one cup (172 grams) of cooked black beans provides 15 grams of fiber, which is approximately 40–60% of the RDA of dietary fiber for adults.
Plus, not only are black beans high in fiber in general, but they are also one of the best sources of soluble fiber in particular. There are more than 7 grams of soluble fiber per cup of cooked black beans.
If you have the USDA serving size of black beans, which is 3/4 of a cup, you will be getting 5.5 grams of soluble fiber.
Other types of beans are also soluble fiber foods.
For example, although lima beans aren’t among the beans with the most total fiber, they have nearly as much soluble fiber as black beans. Each 3/4-cup (128-gram) serving of cooked lima beans provides 5.3 grams of soluble fiber.
Note that raw lima beans are toxic, so always make sure you cook your lima beans well when you are trying to add this soluble fiber food to your diet.
Navy beans and kidney beans are also among the best soluble fiber foods, each providing about 4.4 grams of soluble fiber per serving, as well as lots of insoluble fiber.
#2: Passion Fruit
Passion fruit packs a whopping 6.5 grams of soluble fiber per half cup.
Oats are a high-carb cereal grain, some of which is attributable to the soluble fiber content.
One and one-quarter cups (100 grams) of dry oats have 10 grams of dietary fiber, of which 4.2 grams is soluble fiber.
The more standard 3/4-cup serving of cooked oats has 1.9 grams of soluble fiber.
While this may not seem like a lot of soluble fiber, it’s actually a good percentage of your daily fiber needs.
Furthermore, most of the soluble fiber in oats is beta-glucan, a specific type of soluble fiber that has been shown to reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, improve blood sugar, and reduce your risk of heart disease.
When you make porridge or oatmeal, it is the beta-glucan soluble fiber that imparts the sticky, creamy texture.
#4: Cruciferous Vegetables
Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts are some of the best sources of soluble fiber, among other nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin K, protein, and numerous essential minerals.
A half-cup (78 grams) of Brussels sprouts has 2 grams of soluble fiber, while a half cup (92 grams) of cooked broccoli provides 1.5 grams of soluble fiber.
One whole, medium-sized avocado has about half of the daily value of fiber, with an impressive 14 g of total fiber.
Moreover, one-third of an avocado, which is a serving size, has 4.5 grams of dietary fiber, of which 1.4 grams is soluble fiber. This means that if you eat half of an avocado, you’ll consume 2.1 grams of soluble fiber.
#6: Sweet Potatoes
One-half cup (150 grams) of cooked sweet potato provides about 1.8 grams of soluble fiber, along with vitamin C, and vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene and potassium.
A single tablespoon of flaxseeds has 1.1 grams of soluble fiber.
This high-soluble fiber food is also packed with anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids.
If you prefer fruits high in soluble fiber, you can’t go wrong with pears.
A medium-sized pear has about 5.5 g of dietary fiber, of which 1.5 g is soluble fiber.
Plus, this is a great fruit to add to your soluble fiber foods list because almost all of the soluble fiber is pectin, which is great for lowering cholesterol and nourishing gut bacteria.
#9: Dried Fruit
Another great soluble fiber food choice is dried fruit, which packs a concentrated punch of soluble fiber.
For example, one-quarter cup of dried figs (a tiny serving!) contains about 2 grams of soluble fiber. Dried apricots are also one of the best soluble fiber foods.
Other Foods With Soluble Fiber
Here are some other foods with soluble fiber:
- Sunflower seeds
When you start adding foods highest in soluble fiber to your diet, you should do so slowly to prevent digestive distress.
Fiber can cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea if you increase how much fiber you’re eating suddenly or eat too much fiber at once.
To learn more about some of the potential risks of eating too many soluble fiber foods all of a sudden, check out our guide to causes of bloating here.