Dietary fiber comes in two forms − soluble and insoluble – both of which provide certain health benefits. Sufficient soluble fiber intake is more important, because it has the unique ability of impeding absorption of cholesterol and sugar.
The term “soluble” refers to the fiber’s response to water. Pectin, gums and mucilage are soluble fibers that dissolve in contact with water. During the dissolving process, they become gel-like and sticky, which allows them to bind with other substances, including cholesterol and sugar. When cholesterol and sugar molecules get trapped in soluble fiber, they are less absorbable and, therefore, less able to enter the blood stream.
The dietary guidelines for total fiber intake per day prescribe 20 to 35 grams or more, including soluble fiber. Good sources for soluble fiber are dried beans, peas, oatmeal, whole oat products and certain high-pectin fruits, like apples and prunes.