Fiber: Not Just For Digestion
Fiber is an essential part of a well-rounded diet. Most people know that fiber is crucial for digestive health. What many people don’t realize is that fiber is also vital to other areas of health. Getting enough of this ingredient aids in weight maintenance and lowers risk of diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. How much fiber is enough? Can people get enough fiber through diet alone? Below are some signs that a person may want to consider a fiber supplement, as well as general tips for improving digestive health.
Are you getting enough fiber?
Nearly half of all Americans struggle to get the daily recommended amount of fiber. Depending on age, men should typically get between 30-38 grams of fiber, and women should get 21-25 grams. People who struggle to get this amount through diet alone may want to consider a fiber supplement. Supplements may also be helpful for people who have certain digestive conditions that make fiber absorption difficult, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Tip #1: Find ways to de-stress
Research has shown that prolonged stress can negatively impact a person’s digestive health. Many people experience an upset stomach during particularly stressful moments. However, if someone is suffering from chronic stress, this may lead to chronic digestive problems. Exercising regularly, getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and having a strong social support network are critical factors in stress management.
Tip #2: Stay hydrated
Proper hydration is crucial to maintaining digestive health. There are many types of liquid that help improve digestion, from soup broth to herbal tea to water with lemon. Take care to limit alcohol and caffeinated beverages, as these contribute to dehydration. Carbonated beverages are okay in moderation. Keep in mind that fizzy drinks can contain added sugars and contribute to heartburn for some people.
Tip #3: Keep moving
While exercising right after a large meal can contribute to an upset stomach, maintaining a regular exercise routine aids digestion. What’s more, regular exercise helps people manage stress, prevent heart disease, and maintain a healthy weight. Aim to get 30 minutes of exercise 5-6 times per week.
When dietary changes aren’t enough
Fiber is essential for both digestive health and overall health. However, many people struggle to get adequate fiber from diet alone. To find out if a fiber supplement is the right treatment, speak with a healthcare provider or pharmacist to learn more.