The Best IBS-Friendly Sources of Soluble Fiber

Eating lots of dietary fiber is good for your health. If you have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), you may have become wary of fiber because you have found in the past that eating high-fiber foods has made your symptoms worse. However, maybe the problem wasn't fiber itself, but rather the type of fiber you ate, since there are two types of fiber—soluble and insoluble.

It is also possible that the high-fiber foods that were problematic for you contained certain carbohydrates known as fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols (FODMAPs). These carbohydrates can worsen symptoms.

Be assured, however, that there are plenty of high-fiber foods that can be IBS-friendly. In its most recent set of guidelines for IBS treatment, based on a comprehensive research review, the American College of Gastroenterology concluded that soluble fiber can be helpful for IBS.

They also conclude that insoluble fiber can make IBS symptoms worse. This may account for any problems you have had with fiber in the past.

The benefits of soluble fiber go beyond IBS. Soluble fiber has been associated with lowering cholesterol, reducing rates of cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease, and stabilizing blood sugar levels.

However, not all high-soluble-fiber foods are IBS-friendly. Many high-fiber foods also contain higher levels of FODMAPs. Therefore, in this slideshow, great care was taken to highlight foods that are high in soluble fiber but low in FODMAPs.

For your convenience, we have listed the foods in alphabetical order. Do your digestive and overall health a favor by adding these foods to your weekly shopping list.

Any foods that have an asterisk next to them below may need to be consumed in smaller portions if you know you are reactive to high-FODMAP foods.



A knife sits next to organic avocado slices, bread, and a bowl of organic greens

Kirk Mastin / Getty Images

If you don't yet like avocados, we encourage you to try them more than once. Avocados are a great plant-based source of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and soluble fiber. Add slices to your salads, use them as a spread on sandwiches, or add them to smoothies.

A portion size of 1/8th of a whole avocado is considered to be low in FODMAPs. If you are not sensitive to the FODMAP sorbitol, you may be able to eat larger portions without experiencing digestive symptoms. You can freeze the rest of the avocado in portion sizes that you know you can tolerate.



Fruit Stills: Banana
Floortje / Getty Images

There is so much to love about bananas. They are readily available, portable, and low in FODMAPs. They make a great in-between meal snack. Like avocados, they can be added to smoothies, and when they start to get really ripe, can be frozen for future smoothies.​​

If your IBS is really acting up, to the point that you are afraid to eat anything, bananas are a great choice.



Part of wickerbasket with blueberries (Vaccinium myrtillus) on wooden table
Westend61 / Getty Images

Blueberries can be added to your morning oatmeal, smoothies, and salads. Like bananas, they make a great in-between meal snack. Blueberries are also a good choice when you are trying to get a bad attack of IBS to settle down.

It is important to know that there is a concern about the level of pesticides in conventionally grown blueberries. Therefore, blueberries are one of those food items that you should consider buying only if they are organically grown.

Frozen, organically grown blueberries are a wonderful option, since they are frozen at the time of peak ripeness and therefore contain the highest amount of nutrients.


Brussels Sprouts*

Brussels Sprouts


Many people have chosen to avoid Brussels sprouts for fear that these little nutritious nuggets will make them gassy. Another reason people tend to avoid Brussels sprouts is due to their flavor. These people have clearly never eaten a Brussels sprout that was roasted in olive oil. Try it—you will not be sorry.

Interestingly, the FODMAP researchers found that, in small amounts, Brussels sprouts are low enough in FODMAPs that you should be able to benefit from their soluble fiber without worrying about unwanted symptoms. Try to keep your portion to 2 to 5 sprouts.



Orange Carrots in a Basket

Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images

As you add more soluble foods to your diet, you will see that you are eating all of the colors of the rainbow. You can feel good knowing that you are enhancing your health when you eat colorful fruits and vegetables, as each color represents a wide variety of phytonutrients—plant compounds with amazing health-enhancing qualities.

Carrots make a nice "orange" addition to your regular diet. You may find that your body prefers that you eat them cooked.




Francesco Perre / EyeEm / Getty Images

Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are jam-packed with nutrients, including soluble fiber, and are a great source of plant-based protein. Although most legumes are high in FODMAPs, chickpeas can be enjoyed on a low-FODMAP diet if they are canned, well-rinsed, and limited to a very small portion.

Chickpeas can be sprinkled on salads, blended into hummus, or roasted for a nutritious, tasty munchie.



Eggplant, whole and halved
Joan Ransley / Getty Images

You may only think of eggplant as an ingredient in eggplant parmigiana—not a dish recommended for IBS, since the eggplant is typically dipped in flour and then deep-fried. Fried foods can be found on almost every IBS trigger food list, and with good reason.

A much better option is to chop up and roast your eggplant. You can even roast the eggplant slices before stacking them to make eggplant parmigiana. It's a delicious way to enjoy all of the gooey-ness of eggplant parm, but without the unhealthy deep-fry fat.


Green Beans

sauteed green beans
Green Bean Saute.

Gumawang Jati / EyeEm / Getty Images

Green beans are an inexpensive, easy way to put some soluble fiber onto your dinner plate. You can steam them, roast them, or eat them raw if you are okay with raw vegetables. Add your favorite spices, or drizzle the beans with a little butter or olive oil for extra flavor.



Kiwis (Actinidia deliciosa) and pocketknife on wooden table

Westend61 / Getty Images

Kiwis are no longer the exotic fruit they once were, but are now readily available. Looking for a healthy way to satisfy your sweet tooth? Slice open a kiwi and dig in.



Yellow lentils

Silvia Elena Castañeda Puchetta / EyeEm / Getty Images

Like chickpeas, lentils are a legume that can be enjoyed on a low-FODMAP diet, within limits. You will need to buy canned lentils, rinse them well, and limit yourself to a 1/2 cup serving. This will enable you to enjoy the soluble fiber and protein benefits of lentils without worry that they will set up your digestive system.

You can enjoy lentils as a side dish or use them in a warm, nourishing soup.



bowl of oatmeal with blueberries and almonds

ArxOnt / Moment Open / Getty Images

Oats are a wonderful source of soluble fiber. Certainly, a warm bowl of oatmeal can make a soothing breakfast, lunch or snack. The nice thing about oatmeal is that it can be prepared ahead for quick and easy meals when you are on the go. On a bad IBS day, oatmeal may even serve as dinner.

Add bananas, blueberries, raspberries and/or strawberries to your oatmeal, and you'll really pump up the volume on your soluble fiber intake.




Charles Imstepf / Photolibrary / Getty Images

Okra is a great source of soluble fiber and a whole host of other nutrients.




Maximilian Stock Ltd. / Getty Images

Like bananas, oranges are readily available, extremely portable and low in FODMAPs, making them an excellent soluble fiber option—and one that you can eat frequently. Just be sure to eat the whole fruit in order to get your fiber in, since orange juice typically has most of the fiber squeezed out of it.



bowl of peanuts

Adam Gault / OJO Images / Getty Images

Looking for something to satisfy those late-afternoon or late-night munchie cravings? Look no further than peanuts. Portable and delicious, peanuts have a lot of nutrients packed into them.

Peanut butter is also a great option, as long as the type you buy doesn't have added (hidden) sugar. Read labels carefully.


Potato With Skin

Raw Russet Baking Potatoes Root Vegetables
Liza McCorkle / Getty Images

You need to be eating the skin of potatoes in order to get the most out of the soluble fiber that potatoes have to offer. Therefore, french fries don't count.

Potatoes can be baked or roasted with their skins on. Potatoes make another soothing dish to add to your list of foods to eat when your IBS is at its worst.



fresh raspberries
lacaosa / Getty Images

Like blueberries, conventionally grown raspberries can contain higher levels of pesticides. Therefore, look for organically grown berries. As with blueberries, frozen organic raspberries can be found in most supermarkets.

Enjoy your raspberries as a snack, sprinkle them on your oatmeal, or add them to your smoothies.


Sunflower Seeds

High Angle View Of Sunflower Seeds In Bowl On Table
Luis Benitez / EyeEm / Getty Images

Like peanuts, sunflower seeds make a great portable snack. You can also sprinkle them on cooked vegetables, mashed potatoes, or salads, for some nice, tasty crunch with the added benefit of soluble fiber.



bowl of strawberries

Deborah Pendell / Moment / Getty Images

Like blueberries and raspberries, strawberries are low in FODMAPs and therefore are an IBS-friendly fruit. Like their fellow berries, pesticides are a concern—in fact, strawberries show up very high on the "Dirty Dozen" list. Try to buy them organically grown whenever possible.

Strawberries can be enjoyed with every meal, and a bowl of them sliced makes a delicious, nutritious dessert. Frozen organic strawberries are lovely in smoothies.


Summer Squash

Zucchini and Other Summer Squash

Image Source / Getty Images

Summer squash is an excellent, high-soluble-fiber choice to add to your meals each week. It can be sauteed, roasted, or stuffed. Chopped summer squash is great as a base for delicious, tummy-friendly frittatas.


Sweet Potato

Sweet Potatoes

Laurence Mouton / Getty Images

Sweet potatoes are another way to satisfy your sweet tooth while benefitting from soluble fiber and other amazing nutrients. Just limit yourself to a 1/2 cup serving if you are reactive to the FODMAP mannitol. And be sure to eat the skin.



Walnuts in wooden bowl
Arx0nt / Getty Images

Walnuts are nutritional powerhouses. They are portable, they satisfy a need for a late-afternoon snack, and they taste great crumbled up in salads. Don't worry that they might be fattening; they contain healthy forms of fat that may actually serve to help you to lose weight.



High Angle View Of Zucchini Slices Cooked On Frying Pan In Kitchen
Paolo Cordoni / EyeEm / Getty Images

Like its yellow-colored cousin summer squash, zucchini is a nice low-FODMAP source of soluble fiber. Because zucchini is so easy to grow, recipe developers have bent over backward coming up with a gazillion ways to cook it.

Have some fun browsing around to pick zucchini recipes that appeal to you, and then have even more fun experimenting in your own kitchen!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between soluble fiber and insoluble fiber?

Soluble fiber dissolves in water and turns to a gel-like substance that makes stools softer. It also slows digestion of fat and carbohydrates and can help lower cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber absorbs fluids instead of dissolving in them and makes the stool bulkier.

How much fiber should you eat if you have IBS?

Ideally, you should eat 20 to 35 milligrams of fiber per day. If you're not regularly eating that much fiber, try gradually adding foods with soluble fiber to your diet. Be careful not to increase your fiber too quickly, or your IBS symptoms may get worse.

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