Why Is Fiber Critical In Digestive Health?
Dietary fiber is an essential component of a healthy diet. Good sources of fiber include legumes, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Fiber is best known for promoting healthy digestion but can also aid in weight management, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Eating whole foods is the best way to get the daily recommended dose of fiber, but consuming fiber supplements and making other lifestyle changes can improve digestive health.
When is taking a fiber supplement a good idea?
When an individual cannot obtain the necessary fiber through diet alone, a fiber supplement may be helpful. Fiber supplements are often used to provide relief for constipation and manage other digestive issues, such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Improving gut health naturally
Digestive issues can happen on occasion and affect a person’s daily life. Certain diet and lifestyle changes can improve digestive health. Whole grains, leafy greens, lean protein, and low-fructose fruits are excellent sources of fiber. Staying hydrated, regular exercise, managing stress levels, eating mindfully, and chewing food properly are excellent ways to maintain optimal digestive health. Here are three other ways to improve gut health.
1. Probiotics can help promote digestion and reduce bloating and gas
Probiotics are beneficial, live bacteria and yeasts that can improve gut health. Probiotics help the body digest indigestible fibers that can lead to bloating and gas. In patients with IBS, probiotics have been shown to reduce bloating, gas, and pain. Fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and miso are excellent sources of probiotics, although probiotic supplements are available as capsules.
2. Glutamine can improve the gut microbiome
Glutamine is an essential amino acid that promotes a healthy digestive system. Glutamine has been shown to reduce gut permeability, keep the gut microbiome balanced, and reduce inflammation. Good sources of L-glutamine include eggs, almonds, soybeans, turkey, seafood, tofu, and dairy. Individuals should consult a doctor before taking glutamine as a supplement.
3. Zinc can reduce digestive issues
Zinc is an important trace mineral that can improve digestive health. Zinc deficiency, even minimal deficiency, can cause gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea. Zinc supplements have been shown to provide relief for colitis, diarrhea, and other digestive problems. Good sources of zinc include red meat, oysters, lentils, hemp seeds, and nuts.
Managing symptoms with diet and lifestyle changes
Making the necessary changes in diet and lifestyle does not have to be complicated. Eating a diet rich in high-fiber whole foods is one of the best ways to increase a person’s fiber intake. Choosing healthy lifestyle choices like stress relief exercises and mindful eating and avoiding bad habits like smoking or alcohol consumption can all aid in proper digestion.