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Fabulous Fiber!

By: Ashleigh G. Whittington | Jan 20, 2024

Something that often comes up in my sessions is the topic of fiber, specifically as an important component of a health-supportive diet. Early in the 20th century, the refinement of wheat became popular and for the first time in history people were eating white flour products and far fewer whole grains, beans, vegetables, and fruit sources of dietary fiber. This led to most people consuming too little fiber, which is not only supportive for keeping things moving along through your digestive tract, but it has also been shown to lower our risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as lowering LDL cholesterol and blood pressure.

You might have heard that there are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel that coats the intestinal walls trapping cholesterol before it’s absorbed and enters the bloodstream, thereby lowering blood cholesterol to a degree and reducing the risk for heart disease.  Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and instead soaks water up like a sponge as it passes through the intestines, helping to prevent constipation. Insoluble fiber also binds to estrogen and other bile detoxification products, preventing them from being reabsorbed into the bloodstream.  Both fibers are not absorbed by the intestinal cells which is why fiber helps to prevent undesirable compounds from reaching the bloodstream.

There are numerous types of fiber and each specific fiber serve different functions in the body:

  • Bran, gums and mucilages—help modulate blood glucose and has a cholesterol-lowering effect.
  • Cellulose—an indigestible carbohydrate which absorbs toxins in the intestine.  It is also helpful in preventing constipation.
  • Hemicellulose—an indigestible fiber that is good for relieving constipation and preventing colon cancer.
  • Lignin—an insoluble fiber that can help lower cholesterol and help prevent the formation of gallstones by binding with bile acids and removing cholesterol before stones can form.
  • Pectin—slows the intestinal absorption of food, reducing blood glucose which helps prevent insulin spikes.


Insoluble Fiber Sources

Cellulose Hemicellulose Lignin Bran
Whole grains Bran Mature vegetables Bran
Bran Whole grains Whole grains Whole grains
Vegetables Apples Fruits with edible seeds
Apples Bananas Brazil nuts
Beets Beans Carrots
Brazil nuts Beets Green beans
Broccoli Cabbage Peaches
Carrots Corn Peas
Celery Leafy greens Potatoes
Green beans Pears Strawberries
Lima beans Peppers Tomatoes


Soluble Fiber Sources

Gums Pectin Mucilage
Oats Apples Psyllium
Guar gum Bananas Oats
Legumes Beets Okra
Barley Cabbage Slippery Elm 
  Carrots Marshmallow 


You can use these lists to build your meals to help make sure you’re getting plenty of fiber from a variety of sources. So how much fiber should we be getting each day? According to the USDA, the range for fiber intake can be anywhere from 24-38 grams, depending on a few factors like your age, medical conditions, and digestive capabilities. Speak with a qualified nutritionist (hello!) to help determine what the right amount is for you and how best to incorporate it into your diet.

When looking at food labels, ignore the marketing on the front and turn it around and look for the word “whole” before any grains listed; just because it says “multigrain” on the front of the package does not mean it’s made of whole grains. As another rule of thumb, look for cereals with 6 or more grams of fiber per serving, breads, and crackers with 3 or more grams per serving, and pasta with 4 or more grams per serving.

Let’s chat about your fiber needs and book at 15-minute call today!



  1. Ayoob, Keith et al. Healing Foods. 2000. International Masters Publishers.
  2. Balch, Phyllis and James. Prescriptions for Nutritional Healing, 3rd edition. 2000. Avery.
  3. Mahan, L. K. and Escott-Stump, S. Krause’s Food, Nutrition and Diet Therapy, 9th edition. 1996. W.B. Saunders Co.

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