Fiber's Role in Digestion

Fiber's Role in Digestion

With all the buzz around gut health, you might be wondering how to best optimize yours. Perhaps the most important nutrient for digestive health is fiber.1 However, most Americans fall very short of the recommended minimum of 30-40 grams of fiber per day.2 Let’s examine the various types of fiber, how they help digestion, and how to increase your intake. 

Types of Dietary Fiber

There are three main types of dietary fiber, each of which plays a unique role in your digestion. 

Soluble Fiber

As its name suggests, soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance in your digestive tract. Doing so helps to slow down digestion and nutrient absorption.3

As soluble fiber moves through your intestinal system, it binds to cholesterol, which helps excrete it from the body and support heart health. Furthermore, soluble fiber acts as a prebiotic, feeding the beneficial bacteria in your gut. 

Find soluble fiber in: 

  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Fruits, like apples and pears
  • Legumes

Insoluble Fiber

Unlike its soluble counterpart, insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water, retaining its form as it moves through the digestive tract. This contributes to its primary job of promoting regular bowel movements by adding bulk and preventing constipation.4

Insoluble fiber adds structural support and facilitates the smooth flow of digestion. It’s often called “nature’s broom” for your intestines, sweeping through and helping eliminate waste. 

Furthermore, insoluble fiber is critical for maintaining your overall gut health.5

Find insoluble fiber predominantly in: 

  • Whole grains
  • Vegetables
  • The outer skins of fruits

Resistant Starch

Resistant starch has a unique ability to resist digestion in the small intestine. When it reaches your colon, it ferments and produces short-chain fatty acids like butyrate, which offer an array of benefits for digestive health.6

Resistant starch acts as a fuel for beneficial gut bacteria, supporting a healthy microbiome. It also contributes to improved insulin sensitivity and blood sugar regulation. 

It can be found in foods like: 

  • Green (unripe) bananas
  • Cooked and cooled potatoes
  • Legumes 

Benefits of Dietary Fiber for Digestive Health

Getting fiber from food is important for your digestive and overall health. Here are some of the ways dietary fiber benefits digestion.

Regulates bowel movements

Soluble fiber bulks up stool while insoluble fiber helps move waste along the intestine for elimination.. They work together to support bowel regularity, preventing constipation and diarrhea. 

Weight management

Fiber has a satiating effect as it expands in your intestines and slows digestion and nutrient absorption. This helps provide bulk and limits overeating that may otherwise lead to difficulty maintaining a healthy weight.7 

Blood sugar control

Fiber slows digestion and the absorption of glucose. This helps minimize how dramatically your blood sugar spikes (and falls) after eating.8 

Supports a healthy microbiome

Your gut microbiome is the community of microbes, primarily bacteria, that live in your digestive tract. A healthy balance is key to healthy digestion and overall wellness. Eating a fiber-rich diet is one of the best ways to help your microbiome thrive.9

Tips for Increasing Fiber Intake

Looking to boost your fiber intake? Keep these tips in mind: 

  • Eat more plants. Fiber is only found in plants. Get fiber by eating a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains. 
  • Increase fiber gradually. For some, a sudden increase in fiber-rich foods may trigger temporary digestive side effects like bloating or gassiness. A gradual increase in fiber content may help alleviate these. 
  • Stay hydrated. Hydration is important for everyday health, but keeping your fluids up is also key to preventing constipation when boosting fiber intake.

Fueling Your Digestion with Fiber 

Getting enough fiber is one of the most important things you can do to support gut health and digestion and Americans are simply not getting enough. 

The best way to do this is by eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. These foods provide soluble and insoluble fiber as well as resistant starch to help promote bowel regularity, support healthy blood sugar regulation, and help maintain healthy digestion and a happy gut microbiome. 

But also a supplement can help boost your fiber intake. Our Naturelo Raw Greens powder provides 13% of your daily fiber needs and is a delicious addition to your health routine. 


  1. Barber TM, Kabisch S, Pfeiffer AFH, Weickert MO. The Health Benefits of Dietary Fibre. Nutrients. 2020;12(10):3209. Published 2020 Oct 21. doi:10.3390/nu12103209
  2. Quagliani D, Felt-Gunderson P. Closing America's Fiber Intake Gap: Communication Strategies From a Food and Fiber Summit. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2016;11(1):80-85. Published 2016 Jul 7. doi:10.1177/1559827615588079
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  4. Ioniță-Mîndrican CB, Ziani K, Mititelu M, et al. Therapeutic Benefits and Dietary Restrictions of Fiber Intake: A State of the Art Review. Nutrients. 2022;14(13):2641. Published 2022 Jun 26. doi:10.3390/nu14132641
  5. Yusuf K, Saha S, Umar S. Health Benefits of Dietary Fiber for the Management of Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Biomedicines. 2022;10(6):1242. Published 2022 May 26. doi:10.3390/biomedicines10061242
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  8. Weickert MO, Pfeiffer AFH. Impact of Dietary Fiber Consumption on Insulin Resistance and the Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes. J Nutr. 2018;148(1):7-12. doi:10.1093/jn/nxx008
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