Fiber to Feel Fantastic

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Fiber to Feel Fantastic

The darling of the early 2000s, fiber became the hot topic in the nutrition world and it seemed that everyone knew the plethora of benefits that come from fiber.  While Keto, Paleo, Vegan, Clean eating and other topics have taken the spotlight away from fiber, there’s no denying that fiber is immensely important to your health. 

Ideally, the 25-30 grams of fiber you need each day will come from fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, and whole grains. But, ideal and realistic are not always the same thing, right?

So that’s where a fiber supplement can help.  Some days we don’t manage to get all our fruit and vegetable servings in. Some days, the fridge has only holds ketchup, soy sauce and questionable take out leftovers. Some days, finding time to eat at all is a miracle, and it’s a donut from the break room.  These are the days that a fiber supplement might be a good idea. 

In case you’ve forgotten the information that was surely given to you in the early 2000’s, or if you just didn’t pay attention then, let’s revisit why fiber is important. 

Fiber is the part of plant foods that your body can’t digest. It comes in two forms, soluble and insoluble. The easiest way to think of these and keep them straight is imagining them sitting in a glass of water.  Insoluble fiber will just sit there, it doesn’t change. Soluble fiber will swell up, absorbing water like a sponge. Both forms are important and do different jobs. 

Insoluble fiber acts as a broom for your GI tract, sweeping away what needs to be removed. It can be found in foods like whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans and vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans and potatoes.  

Insoluble fiber is particularly helpful for preventing GI issues such as hemorrhoids and diverticular disease, conditions which are unfortunately becoming more and more common.

Soluble fiber helps to absorb the things that need to leave and carries them out. It can be found in foods like oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.

Insoluble fiber is especially cool because of its’ ability to bind to bile and help to excrete it.  This is important because when bile gets reabsorbed and reused, it can cause issues for the gallbladder.  Gallbladder problems have also become increasingly common, and it may be due in part to our lack of adequate soluble fiber.  

Both types of fiber together do even more to keep you healthy.  Adequate fiber intake has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and promote heart health.  It can help control blood sugar levels as well, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes. It also helps control weight by increasing satiety and helping you feel full longer.  

Fiber supplements are typically soluble fiber, so they are okay to use on occasion, like those days when you don’t get those fruit and veggie servings in, but do be mindful of making foods high in fiber a priority in your daily habits to keep your gut functioning like it should. 

As more research is done regarding gut health and the impact it has on overall health, even mental health, it’s becoming increasingly apparent that it should be a priority for everyone!  

-Amy Denker, MS, RD, LD

More about me:

I attended Oklahoma State University and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Nutrition and Exercise. I went on to earn a Master’s of Science degree in Dietetics and Nutrition and completed the Dietetic Internship Program at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City.

I was the Nutrition Services Clinical Coordinator at Crittenton Children’s Center for over 5 years before changing my focus to raising my family. I am excited to now be involved with a company that is focused on providing healthy options for customers as well as providing education and resources for customers to make informed decisions for themselves and their loved ones!