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Insoluble Fiber for Inflammatory Bowel Disease Prevention

  • foods play an important role in preventing flare ups
  • Combining sources of insoluble fiber with soluble fibers is a good way to get the fiber your body needs without causing further digestive problems
  • Insoluble fiber can be found in vegetables, whole wheat products, fruits, and more


Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) is a challenging problem for millions of Americans. People who have this disease can suffer from a number of symptoms, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and gas. Sometimes these symptoms occur alone or in combination. Either way, patients suffer from significant abdominal distress which may be able to be prevented by including more insoluble fiber in one’s diet.

Insoluble and Soluble Fibers

Fiber is something most people don’t get enough of, yet for the person suffering from IBD it’s even more critical to keep the digestive tract operating smoothly so consuming enough is vital. However, you need to understand the difference between these two types of fiber because too much of one without the other can actually make your symptoms worse instead of better.

Soluble fiber, for example, is found in foods that absorb water from the digestive system so that you can pass stools more easily. Without it, your stool would be very hard and dry. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your food which helps it work through your digestive tract at a faster pace so you don’t end up with a back up that can lead to bloating and pain.

While soluble fiber is great for people suffering from IBD, insoluble fiber needs to be eaten with some caution because it can cause your digestive system to work too quickly and can cause problems that irritate your condition instead of help it.

The Right Way to Add Fiber

You can’t abandon insoluble fiber, however. A good diet needs both and so does IBD prevention. Instead, eat your foods rich in insoluble fiber with bigger amounts of soluble fiber sources. That means you’ll need to have a good understanding of which foods and products would fall under each category so you can blend them appropriately.

Some of the most common insoluble fiber foods include anything made from whole wheat flour, beans, strawberries, raisins, pineapple, prunes, peas, spinach, corn, bell peppers, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, granola, and seeds. Many other fruits and vegetables are also good insoluble fiber foods.

Interestingly, soluble fiber can be found in some of the same foods, including beans and peas. Citrus fruits are also good sources of this type of fiber, as are carrots and other vegetables. Oats or barley contains more soluble fiber, too.

One way to combine the two types of fiber in a good way for IBD is to make a smoothie containing both citrus and non-citrus fruits that can be consumed with a bowl of oat bran cereal. You can also reduce the amount of insoluble fiber you consume by avoiding the peel or skin, as well as by cooking or mashing the foods.

Getting Enough Fiber

The important thing for IBD sufferers is getting sufficient amounts of fiber to prevent flare ups of your condition. If you’re a man, you’re going to need between 30 and 38 grams of fiber per day for a healthy digestive system. If you’re a woman, you will need to consume 21 to 25 grams of fiber per day. Remember you need to maintain that good combination of soluble and insoluble fiber if you want to keep your condition at bay.

The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.