The Best Fiber Supplements of 2021 That Actually Work
Fiber might not be the sexiest nutrition topic, but it’s definitely one of the most important.
Found in plant foods, fiber is a type of carbohydrate that our bodies cannot digest. While the nutrient does not actually provide energy, vitamins, or minerals, fiber has many health benefits.
Soluble fiber, which dissolves into a gel in water and is found in foods like oatmeal, nuts, and beans, helps control blood sugar and can lower cholesterol. Insoluble fiber, which stays intact in water and found in wheat, rice, and many fruits and vegetables, keeps things moving in your digestive system and prevents constipation.
Getting enough fiber overall could lower your risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, diverticulitis (inflammation of the small intestine common in older people), and some cancers.
Now for the bad news: Only about five percent of men and nine percent of women regularly consume the recommended daily amount of fiber, about 38 grams (g) and 25 g per day, respectively. This is hardly surprising considering that 90 percent of American adults don’t eat five fruits and vegetables (both a great source of fiber) a day.
Of course, it’s always best to get your nutrients from food. âFoods high in fiber contain additional components that provide additional benefits for gut and overall health,â says Sharon Puello, RD, a certified diabetes educator based in Yonkers, New York.
âThese include prebiotics, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals. In other words: you will be consuming far more nutrients from an apple or a bowl of lentil soup than from a spoonful of fiber powder in your water.
But while it’s possible to get all the fiber you need from whole plant-based foods, fiber supplements exist to fill the gaps. âFiber supplements can be a great way to help you get enough fiber as you learn how to add more dietary fiber to your diet,â says Puello.
Fiber supplements can be helpful for people with chronic diarrhea because they contain soluble fiber to draw water into your colon and thicken your stool. They can also help relieve symptoms of digestive health issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and Crohn’s disease.
âWhen looking for a fiber supplement, you want to look for one without artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners, as well as any ingredients you might be intolerant of,â says Puello. âIdeally, you want to choose a supplement that also contains prebiotic fiber,â she says, because this type of fiber nourishes the probiotic bacteria in your gut to support overall health.
And don’t overdo it. âI don’t recommend more than a quarter of your fiber from daily supplements,â Puello says. For men, that’s about nine grams.
If you’re looking for a fiber supplement to boost your daily intake, here are five we recommend.
âSun fiber is a good, gentle option that gives you soluble fiber as well as prebiotics,â says Puello. It has six grams of fiber per serving and contains no other ingredients. Plus, it dissolves easily in hot or cold liquid.
Just one teaspoon of Now Foods Certified Organic Inulin provides 2.5 grams of inulin, a type of soluble prebiotic fiber. Along with benefits like better digestion and a more regular toilet schedule, inulin has been shown to support a healthy gut microbiome.
Psyllium husk contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, making it a great choice if you suffer from constipation (since most supplements contain only soluble fiber, which attracts water but doesn’t sweep your tube. digestive).
Organic Psyllium Herbal Powder from India has 4 grams of fiber per tablespoon and is best used mixed with smoothies or mixed with oatmeal as it takes on a gummy texture. in water.
Made with wheat dextrin, Benefiber contains only soluble fiber and provides three grams per two teaspoon serving. It doesn’t thicken in liquid like many other fiber supplements do, so you can add it to sauces and drinks without changing the texture.
Metylcellulose, a semi-synthetic fiber made from processed wood pulp, is a soluble fiber found in many over-the-counter supplements. It’s non-fermentable, which means it’s less likely to cause gas than some other types of fiber. Two Citrucel Methylcellulose with Smartfiber caplets will give you 1 gram of fiber, and you can take up to 12 caplets per day.
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