Fit Tip Friday: Fiber & Hydration

When you increase your fiber intake, you must increase your water intake. Both types of dietary fiber — soluble and insoluble — rely on water; however, soluble fiber dissolves in water and insoluble fiber does not.

Soluble Fiber

Soluble fiber absorbs water to become a gel-like mass which allows it to slow down the rate at which food leaves your stomach. When the food is slowed down, it helps you feel full—a huge win for controlling your hunger! It also prevents spikes in blood sugar by stabilizing the absorption of carbohydrates, and lowers LDL cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”) by carrying it, along with other toxins, out of your system.

Whole foods with quality soluble fiber include: oatmeal, apples, oranges, pears, strawberries, nuts, flaxseeds, beans, blueberries, cucumbers, celery, and carrots.

Insoluble Fiber

Insoluble fiber doesn’t absorb fluid and acts almost the opposite of soluble fiber in that it traps and retains water pulled from your intestine, which adds bulk and moisture to waste and prevents constipation. In other words, it quickens things up whereas soluble fiber slows things down. This is why you need both types of fiber for a healthy digestive system!

Whole foods naturally filled with insoluble fiber include: whole grains, seeds, nuts, brown rice, zucchini, celery, broccoli, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, dark leafy vegetables, raisins, grapes, fruit, and root vegetables. If you take a look at the list, it’s easy to spot some foods that can cause gas pains and indigestion in some folks (I’m lookin’ at you, broccoli!) and you can blame it on the insoluble fiber.

Increasing Fiber

My fiber intake has increased a lot recently; as I feel it always does when summer begins and the local farm stand opens! I’m eating a lot more fresh vegetables and fruits since my cravings for smoothies and salads increases in the warm weather. I also am using my Nutri Ninja DUO with Auto IQ no less than twice a day so that has had a big increase in my additional consumption of soluble and insoluble fiber.

New to eating clean?

Without gradually increasing your fiber intake and immediately increasing your water consumption, all those extra smoothies and clean eating of whole foods can cause some serious stomach pains, gas cramps, and bloating. I promise if you’re experiencing this at first, it will go away in a few days! In the meantime, drink a lot of water and eventually (within the first week or two) your body will become acclimated to the extra fiber and then you will experience the amazing benefits of happy gut/regularity, proper hydration, energy, de-bloating, and weight loss.

I’ve admitted this before, but ever since I became a stay-at-home mom I have really struggled with getting in enough water. Below are some tips on how to increase your hydration!

Fit Tips

  • Fill a pitcher with water & fruit of choice; place in fridge and keep filling up that cup all day until the pitcher is empty.
    • Fruit ideas: Orange slices; strawberry & basil; orange & mint leaves (great for nausea too!); lemons & limes; watermelon & cucumber; and a million other combinations! This is all the “detox” you need to help the fiber do it’s job in the amazing digestive system our bodies naturally have!
  • Grab a Nalgene or other large water bottle. Put 3-4 rubber bands around the bottle. Fill it up with water. Every time you empty the bottle, take off a rubber band. Easy way to keep track of how much you have consumed!
  • Slice an orange into 8 slices. Place one slice in a 8-12 oz. glass and fill with water. Every time you empty the glass, throw out the slice, add a new slice and re-fill. This will help you reach the goal of 8 glasses per day.
  • Cold day? For every 16 oz of water you drink, have a cup of green tea. The amount of naturally-occuring caffeine in green tea is low enough for the tea to count as hydration (the same is NOT true for coffee! In fact, you should drink another 1-2 glasses of water for every cup of coffee consumed.)
  • La Croix to the rescue!!! My obsession with this completely clean, Whole30-friendly, sparkling water with infused natural fruit is still going strong! Pick up a case (or 4, like I do haha) at your local Target.

What are your best tips for staying hydrated?

Meridith Oram
Meridith Oram is an ACE-Certified Health Coach at Below the Fork where she encourages women to love themselves towards healthy. She is married with two boys, and lives outside of Philadelphia. She earned a B.A. in Communications from Villanova University. Meridith writes about FASTer Way to Fat Loss, fitness, nutrition, Celiac Disease, and easy (but delicious!) gluten-free recipes at Follow her @belowthefork on all social channels.
  • William

    Medical journals recently released all indicate that coffee does not dehydrate and in fact can be counted as part of your daily water count. Caffeine stimulates the peristaltic action of the intestines.

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