A Crucial Component Of Health
Fiber is a crucial component of a healthy diet. This dietary part helps to regulate digestion, control blood sugar, and lower cholesterol. While fiber is found naturally in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, many Americans struggle to meet the recommended daily intake. In these cases, people may benefit from a high-quality fiber supplement.
Why is it important?
Fiber is most well-known for constipation prevention and regulation of the bowels. However, getting enough of this crucial ingredient also helps with weight maintenance. People who eat enough fiber also have a lowered risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer.
Two types of fiber
Unlike other food components, the body cannot digest dietary fiber. Instead, the ingredient passes through the stomach, small intestine, and colon. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble means that the fiber dissolves in water. This type can help to lower cholesterol and control glucose levels. Insoluble fiber is not dissolvable in water. This type helps the material to pass through the digestive system.
How much do I need?
Daily recommended intakes can vary by age, weight, and gender. In general, however, men under the age of 50 need about 38 grams daily. Women under 50 only need about 25 grams. Over the age of 50, needs lower slightly. Men will only need around 30 grams daily and women only 21.
Can supplements help?
Besides taking a fiber supplement, some other nutrients have been shown to be helpful in improving gut health. Zinc, L-glutamine, collagen, and probiotics have all been linked to improved digestive health. Additionally, some lifestyle choices can affect how well the digestive system works.
What else should I do?
Research has shown that eating too much sugar or artificial sweeteners can impact digestive health. Additionally, how well a person manages stress can have an effect. Experts recommend getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a nutritious, balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables.
What to avoid
Many lifestyle changes focus on what habits to add to a routine. However, there are also some things to avoid. Although taking antibiotics may sometimes be necessary to fight infection, only take these prescriptions when necessary. Overuse can damage gut microbiota and lead to digestive problems. Additionally, smoking has a negative impact on gut health, as well as on heart and lung health. Studies have shown that smoking alters intestinal flora and may increase the risk of certain intestinal conditions.
When to consider a supplement
Eating a healthy diet is the most important step to getting enough dietary fiber. However, some people still struggle with meeting the recommended amounts. In these cases, additional help may be needed. To learn more about starting a fiber supplement, speak with a healthcare provider or pharmacist.