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Adding fiber to your diet is important for our digestive health
And it also impacts our overall health and can help prevent various diseases.
Dietary fiber is the part of plant foods that our body cannot digest or absorb.
Instead, it passes relatively intact through our stomach, our small intestines, our colon, and out of the body.
We get fiber from the diet, from fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds and legumes, and unfortunately, our typical standard American diet does not usually include enough fiber.
That's where fiber supplements can be helpful.
They can help you meet your daily fiber needs when your diet falls short.
In today's video, we will discuss the importance of fiber, different types of fiber, when you should consider a fiber supplement, and how to choose the right one for you.
Hi, I'm Katie Bailey. I'm a registered dietician at Flusso Nutrients where we provide supplement education and professional quality supplement options for you to make the world of nutrition supplements a little easier to navigate.
As always, make sure you check with your main nutrition literate healthcare provider before starting anything new. As we can't know your full medical history to provide you with a personal recommendation. So without further ado, let's jump into today's topic.
Increasing fiber in your diet can have many benefits.
Number one is it's going to help support healthy gut,
so that fiber is going to increase the weight and size of your stool as well as soften them, so a bulky stool is going to be easier to pass, which is going to help prevent constipation if you're struggling with loose or watery stools.
Fiber can also help to solidify them by absorbing water and adding bulk to the stool.
The second thing it can do is it can help maintain a healthy weight,
so fiber foods are going to be ones that keep you fuller for longer.
They're going to make you eat less food because of that and can really help with weight management.
The last thing is it can help lower your risk of chronic diseases.
Research has shown that fiber can help decrease the cholesterol on your blood, reduce your blood pressure, and help improve your body's response to insulin
By slowing down the absorption of sugar, fiber is classified into two categories.
Soluble and insoluble fiber in both of these types have different benefits.
Your soluble fiber is going to dissolve in water and form a gel-like material. Now, this is the one that's going to help reduce your cholesterol and your blood sugar.
Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley, and psyllium.
Now, insoluble fiber is going to promote the movement of material through your digestive tract, also known as peristalsis, and increase the bulk your stool, which is going to help with those irregular bowel movements.
Insoluble fiber is found in whole wheat flour and wheat bran, nuts, beans, and many different vegetables.
Now, you may be wondering, should I be taking a prebiotic fiber supplement?
While it's best to get fiber from Whole Foods sources, it may be necessary to take a fiber supplement, especially if you struggle to meet your daily fiber intake through Diet Alone, it's recommended that women have at least 25 grams of fiber a day and men 38 grams of fiber a day.
If you struggle with things like constipation or diarrhea or even hemorrhoids, taking a fiber supplement may be beneficial to help alleviate your symptoms.
Just a reminder that a fiber supplement should not replace Whole Foods, but should be used as a supplement to a balanced diet.
Like I mentioned before, fiber supplements can be particularly beneficial for a specific digestive concerns, so for instance, diarrhea can be managed by fiber because it absorbs more water and creates more bulk to the stool.
It can alleviate constipation by helping to soften the stool and make it easier to pass. It can potentially improve hemorrhoid symptoms by softening the stool and reducing the need to strain during bowel movements.
What are Hemorrhoids?
Hemorrhoids are just veins that are swollen in the lower rectum or the anus that are often a result of straining during bowel movements. With so many different fiber supplements on the market, it can be hard to determine which one is right for you.
If you're looking to alleviate constipation, then a fiber supplement with insoluble fiber may be beneficial.
On the other hand, if you want to alleviate diarrhea or lower your blood sugar or cholesterol levels, a supplement with soluble fiber may be more beneficial, and if you want to just improve gut health in general, a prebiotic fiber supplement could be a good option for you.
Prebiotic fiber is that fiber that's going to help feed that beneficial bacteria in the gut and promote a healthy gut microbiome.
While fiber supplements can be beneficial. There are some people that do experience bloating and gas and cramping when they start a fiber supplement.
Now, this usually decreases over time as your body starts to adjust to that amount of fiber, which is why it's best with starting any supplement really to start at a low dose and slowly increase as tolerated.
It's also important to drink plenty of water when you're taking a fiber supplement as the fiber is going to create that bulk, but if you don't have enough of that hydration, then it's not going to be soft and it will be difficult to pass.
Now remember, before starting any new supplement, even a fiber supplement, it's important to talk to your healthcare provider so they can help you figure out what dosage is best for you and to make sure that this supplement is not going to interfere with any other medications or supplements that you are already taking.
To wrap up our topic for today,
Should you be taking a fiber supplement?
Well, the answer to that is going to be dependent on your individual needs and circumstances.
So if you're able to meet your fiber needs through your diet alone, then you may not need a fiber supplement.
If you struggle to get the recommended amount of fiber through your diet, or if you have other digestive conditions that would benefit from additional fiber, then a fiber supplement would be beneficial for you.
But remember, aim to get a majority of your fiber through Whole Foods and use fiber supplements as a backup when necessary.
If you're considering a fiber supplement, I have linked a quality supplement here for you to checkout.
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Let us know in the comments if you've ever tried any fiber supplements before or if you have any questions regarding them.
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Thanks for watching. I'll see you next time. Bye.