Take Charge of Your Digestion – Part 1: Fiber

Over the next four months, I will be focusing on the four components that together provide a natural and beneficial way to optimum digestion. Advanced Naturals, who I endorse for high quality, natural supplements, calls these four parts the H.O.P.E. formula and it includes High fiber, Omega-3 oils, Probiotis, and Enzymes. This month we’re going to dive into FIBER.


Fast Facts About Fiber You Need to Know Now!


Although we hear a lot about adding fiber to our diet and most of us probably realize it is good for us, we may not know as much as we should to optimize our health. After all, the bottom line (and we at Lavage Wellness really care about your ‘bottom’ line!) is more information arms you to practice a higher level of self-care.

What is fiber and why do we need it?

Fiber is essentially an indigestible carbohydrate that can be found in food or supplements. If it can’t be digested by the enzymes in our bodies, why do we need it? Since fiber can’t be digested, it passes into our large intestine where our gut microbes continually work to keep us healthy.

There are extensive claims about increased fiber helping reduce inflammation, strokes, heart disease, diabetes, diseases of the digestive system, and more. While evidence is promising and increasing fiber is widely accepted as an overall positive thing we can do to help improve our health, we are not going to focus on these particular claims. I do want to stress the major roles of fiber in our bodies:

  • It helps feed beneficial bacteria (as mentioned above)
  • It helps bulk up our stool, helping with easier elimination
  • It helps absorbs toxins in our bodies

Some people believe that they only need to increase fiber if they are constipated, and view it as an occasional thing to worry about. The truth is we all need fiber every single day to maintain good health. Most of us don’t realize that the proper amount of fiber can not only help with constipation but diarrhea as well.

Where to get it and how much?

Although the USDA recommends 25 grams of daily fiber for females and 38 grams for males, the standard American diet falls way short of providing this much fiber. I recommend to my patients to strive for 25-35 grams per day. Many health professionals will say this can be accomplished through healthy food choices alone. While this may be technically true, I find most people do not consistently consume enough dietary fiber.

Adding supplemental fiber to your dietary fiber can ensure you are consuming enough fiber on a consistent basis, and can increase the quality of the fiber, especially when using pharmaceutical grade products.

Soluble vs. insoluble fiber

There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. We need both to be healthy. Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance. It helps slow fat absorption and helps us to feel fuller, and also helps regulate blood sugar levels. Think of what happens with oatmeal, it forms a creamy gel-like texture when combined with water.

Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. It helps add bulk to the stool which can aid in reducing constipation. It also provides food for our probiotic good bacteria to feast on. Think of the fibrous parts of celery, apple skins, or seeds, they do not dissolve in water. When people to adding “roughage” to their diet, they are typically referring to insoluble fiber.

Click here for more information on which foods are good sources of fiber.

The moral of the story? Get enough fiber! If you need recommendations for top-notch supplements, contact us!



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