Fiber also known as roughage is the part of plant food that is undigested. It gets stored in your gut and is eventually expelled out of the body through the stools.
Fiber and natural fiber supplements aid in the proper bowel movement and inhibits you from suffering from bowel problems like constipation.
The significance of fiber in your diet
Having sufficient fiber (18 grams daily) in your diet makes your stool soft and easy to defecate.
· It also prevents and treats constipation
· It minimizes your likelihood of suffering from bowel issues like diverticular disease, haemorrhoids and anal fissure.
· It helps in weight loss. It creates a feeling of fullness but doesn’t add extra calorie to your diet or get digested.
· It minimizes your risk of suffering from bowel cancer.
· It helps in the reduction of cholesterol level and regulates the level of blood sugar.
· It may minimize your possibility of suffering from diabetes.
Types of fiber and fiber supplements
The fiber in the food you it is of two forms: soluble and insoluble fiber. They perform different function in your body.
You therefore need to incorporate the two forms of fiber in your everyday diet. The majority of fibrous foods have a mixture of both types in them.
Insoluble fiber and Insoluble fiber supplements
Insoluble fiber is the type of fiber that does not dissolve in water. It goes through your digestive tract and passes out through your stool unaltered. It makes the stool more bulky and makes it easy to pass through digestive system.
It neutralizes the pH condition of your intestines and inhibits colon cancer. It is mostly present in seeds, nuts, fruit skin, maize, dark green leafy veggies, wheat bran and whole grains. Fiber supplements for constipation are usually made with some of these ingredients.
Soluble fibers and soluble fiber supplements
Soluble fiber easily dissolves in water. It soaks up water from your food retarding the rate of digestion. This in turn helps in the regulation of blood sugar.
It reduces LDL cholesterol. It forms gel in your tummy which gets bonded with the cholesterol preventing it from being absorbed into your body. Thus, fiber supplements that re made up soluble fibers are usually of it is fiber supplements for weight loss.
Soluble fiber can be obtained from oatmeal, flax seed, barley, dried peas, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables like oranges and carrots.
Foods that are rich in fiber
Some foods are made up of high level of fiber. Examples of such meal are:
· Whole meal or whole-wheat bread, biscuits and flour.
· Fruit and vegetables: Try to eat five servings of a mixture of food and vegetable everyday to get enough fiber.
· Wholegrain breakfast cereals like All-Bran, Bran Flakes, Weetabix, Shredded Wheat, muesli, and so on.
· Brown rice, and whole meal spaghetti and other whole meal pasta.
Supplements made to mimic these high fibered foods are known as high fiber supplements.
While taking fiber rich food try to keep hydrated
For fiber in your diet to work effectively, it needs enough fluid. Try to drink not less than two liters of water every day to void blockage of gut.
Your fluid intake doesn’t necessarily have to be water. It could be any other healthy drink or squash without sugar or additives.
Boosting your fiber intake
Increase in the intake of fiber may result to a bloated stomach especially in people having bowel problem.
You might be able to reduce such effects by eating more of soluble fiber and also altering your fiber intake in these forms:
· Go for whole meal bread instead of white bread
· Instead of artificial cereals opt for whole grain types like
· Instead of white rice and pasta , go for brown colored rice and paste
· Incorporate additional vegetables to mince, casseroles, soups, stews or curries.
· Go for vegetable of fruit snacks.
· Go for high fiber foods and add seeds into your soup, salads or yoghurts
· Eat fruits and vegetable skins when feasible. You can as well look for dietary fiber supplements.
Recommendations on the use of fiber Supplements
When you are starting out to eat more fiber or use fiber supplement, do not overdo it but start gradually and up the amount you take bit by bit.
Excess intake of fiber can lead to discomforting side effects such as bloating, cramping, and gas. Also don’t forget to take enough water to create a suitable environment for fiber to work in your gut.
Consult your doctor to check if the fiber supplements may have probable interactions with any medication you may be taking.
Fiber supplements side effects
Due to the fact that fiber retards the process of digestion, it may minimize the rate at which your body assimilates some medications.
A lot of research recommends that you should not use fiber supplement in combination with medications that treat the following health conditions: depression, diabetes, high cholesterol, thyroid disorders, seizures, and different forms of heart issues.
Regularly used medicines like aspirin, ibuprofen, and penicillin can be affected by an increased fiber intake. It is better to take your medications about two hours before taking your fiber supplement.