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Soluble and Insoluble Fibers Important to Health

Dr. Soloman Shah MD

A gastroenterologist, Soloman Shah, MD, earned his BA from the University of Virginia and an MD from Eastern Virginia Medical School. A physician at Gastrointestinal Medicine Associates, PC, Dr. Soloman Shah advises patients to consume high-fiber foods for better gastrointestinal health.

All fiber in the human diet, both insoluble and soluble, comes from grains, fruits, and vegetables, and both types of fiber are important to good health.

Like its name suggests, insoluble fiber is not water-soluble. It is also not fermented by bacteria in the intestines. Insoluble fiber retains water, promoting bulky and regular bowel activity. This activity cleans the colon of cancer-causing carcinogens and prevents disorders such as hemorrhoids and diverticulosis. Insoluble fiber is found in foods such as corn, bran, whole grains, nuts, seeds, potatoes, tomatoes, kiwi fruit, and the skins of apples.

Soluble fiber can be fermented by good bacteria in the colon. It nourishes these bacteria, enabling them to grow. This fiber also reduces cholesterol in the body and reduces the risk of coronary heart disease. Soluble fiber can be found in foods such as legumes, broccoli, rye, barley, oats, berries, plums, pears, and root vegetables such as carrots.


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