THE BASICS: Inadequate intake of dietary fiber contributes to the risk of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, and colon cancer. For years, researchers focused on insoluble fiber, or roughage, but the bigger health benefits might actually come from soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps reduce appetite, leading to less food consumption and then to weight loss. It can also relieve constipation, improve inflammatory (irritable) bowel disease, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and enhance protection against cancer and infection.
ALIAS: The most common types of soluble fiber sold as dietary supplements include oat bran, flaxseed, glucomannan, beta-glucan, inulin,
HOW SOLUBLE FIBER WORKS: Soluble fiber, sometimes called viscous fiber, expands and forms a gel when it encounters water in the digestive tract, creating a sense of fullness. Some types of soluble fiber reduce the absorption of cholesterol and enhance the growth of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract. Although soluble fiber might actually slow the digestive process, its bulk promotes regular bowel movements and well-formed stools.
Sandy was 50 years old, overweight, prediabetic, constipated, and had elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Hunger often sabotaged her best intentions to lose weight and improve her blood sugar levels.
Did You Know?
Studies suggest that alginate, a type of soluble fiber extracted from seaweed, may help to ease
HEALTH BENEFITS: Different types of soluble fiber may have slightly different health benefits.
BACKGROUND CHECK: Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of both soluble and insoluble fiber, so include a lot of them in your diet. Oats and seed husks are also excellent sources of soluble fiber.
HEADS UP: Taking large amounts of soluble fiber may result in constipation, flatulence, and bloating. Start with a small amount, such as one or two capsules, and increase the amount of fiber gradually along with your intake of fluids.
WHAT YOU SHOULD TAKE: Fiber supplements vary greatly, so follow directions on the label of the product you use. You should try to get 25 g of more fiber in your diet daily from food first, and supplements if needed. In general, take the supplements 15 to 30 minutes before eating, and do not take fiber with other supplements or medication; fiber absorbs them and keeps your body from absorbing them.
MegaFood, DailyFoods Organic Pure Food High Fiber Hemp Shake contains a fiber blend that helps you feel full longer, manage cravings, control blood sugar, and promotes heart health and healthy digestion.
Keep things running smoothly, and relieve gas and bloating, with Natural Factors PGX Ultra Matrix PLUS Smooth DigesT. Contains a unique and proprietary blend of highly purified fiber (including konjac root and alginate), plus fennel, anise, and caraway seed to ease digestive discomfort.
Hero Nutritionals Yummi Bears Fiber (for kids) is made from natural chicory root to prevent digestive problems and keep tummies healthy and happy.