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What Are The Health Benefits of Soluble Fiber for Kids?

Medically Reviewed by May Zhu, RDN | Published February 01, 2024

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Soluble fiber plays a pivotal role in our kid's health, contributing significantly to their digestive well-being and overall health. Let's take a look at the health benefits of soluble fiber and why parents should focus on incorporating fiber-rich foods into their kid's diets to improve both gut health and total body wellness. 

What is Soluble Fiber?

Soluble fiber is a type of dietary fiber that dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract. It's found in various plant-based foods such as legumes, fruits like apples and oranges, and some vegetables like broccoli. This type of fiber is fermented by gut bacteria in the colon to promote digestive health in kids.

Role in Digestive Health

Soluble fiber aids digestion by slowing down the digestion process, which can help regulate bowel movements. Data from research on soluble fiber softening stool and easing bowel movements, contributing to digestive regularity in kids [1]. 

Promoting Healthy Gut Microbiota

Soluble fiber nourishes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. These bacteria produce short-chain fatty acids, supporting gut health and potentially reducing the risk of certain gastrointestinal issues such as constipation and diarrhea [2].

Regulating Blood Sugar Levels

Soluble fiber helps regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of sugar. This can help with stabilizing energy levels and reducing the risk of spikes in blood sugar after meals, which can be beneficial for managing blood glucose levels in kids [1]. 

Sources of Soluble Fiber for Kids

Kids can include soluble fiber in their diets by consuming foods like legumes (beans and lentils), fruits such as oranges, apples, and berries, and certain vegetables like carrots and broccoli. Encouraging a varied intake of these foods can help your little ones get the benefits of soluble fiber.

Begin Health Expert Tip

Dealing with picky eaters in the family? Begin Health’s Growing Up Prebiotics provides 3g of prebiotic fiber per serving and helps kids create softer, more frequent poops within six weeks of daily use [3]. It’s tasteless and textureless - just mix into your kid's favorite beverage for an easy way to get their daily intake of fiber. 

Additional Health Benefits

Beyond aiding digestion, soluble fiber offers other health benefits for kids, including promoting heart health by reducing cholesterol levels and potentially lowering the risk of heart disease later in life [2]. 

Summary

Soluble fiber is a type of dietary fiber that can be found in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables such as beans, apples, and carrots. Consuming foods with soluble fiber can help create a balanced gut microbiome and contribute to regularity and softer stools. 

References

[1] Kranz S, Brauchla M, Slavin JL, Miller KB. What do we know about dietary fiber intake in children and health? The effects of fiber intake on constipation, obesity, and diabetes in children. Adv Nutr. 2012 Jan;3(1):47-53. doi: 10.3945/an.111.001362. Epub 2012 Jan 5. PMID: 22332100; PMCID: PMC3262613.

[2] Salvatore S, Battigaglia MS, Murone E, Dozio E, Pensabene L, Agosti M. Dietary Fibers in Healthy Children and in Pediatric Gastrointestinal Disorders: A Practical Guide. Nutrients. 2023 May 6;15(9):2208. doi: 10.3390/nu15092208. PMID: 37432354; PMCID: PMC10180776.

[3] Closa-Monasterolo, R., Ferré, N., Castillejo-DeVillasante, G., Luque, V., Gispert-Llauradó, M., Zaragoza-Jordana, M., Theis, S., & Escribano, J. (2016). The use of inulin-type fructans improves stool consistency in constipated children. A randomised clinical trial: pilot study. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 68(5), 587–594.https://doi.org/10.1080/09637486.2016.1263605

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