Understanding Nutritional Fiber Supplements
In today's health-conscious world, it is quite a surprise that fiber remains a mystery to most consumers. Many are still unaware that fiber ? or at least nutritional fiber supplements ? are vital for a healthy lifestyle. Here is a short article to help you understand exactly what fiber is and how it can help you.
What is fiber?
Fibers are carbohydrates that cannot be digested. They can be found in all edible plants like fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes. Fibers are categorized according to its source of and its solubility in water. ?Soluble? fibers include oatmeal, nuts, seeds, dried peas, beans, lentils, apples, pears, strawberries, and blueberries. ?Insoluble? fibers, which do not dissolve in water, are whole grains, cereals, wheat brans, seeds, carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, celery, and tomatoes.
Because of the touted health benefits of fiber, nutritional fiber supplements have become very popular. Fiber appears to lower the risk of developing heart diseases, diabetes, diverticular diesease, and constipation. But according to a study of the Harvard School of Public Health, average Americans only consume 14-15 grams of fiber ? way lower than the recommended daily fiber intake of 20-35 grams.
Are you getting enough fiber?
Your fast-paced lifestyle may make it hard for you to keep track of how much fibers you need to consume and if you are meeting our recommended intake. Nutritional fiber supplements may be the answer to your needs. Not only do these supplements fill your ?fiber gap? ? they are also very convenient because you have the choice of taking them as pills or mixing them with your food.
Should you take a fiber supplement?
It depends. Several studies have shown that the intake of nutritional fiber supplements is not for everybody.
For example, fiber supplements can interfere with the absorption of some medications. In a study done by the Mayo Clinic, certain medications have been found to interact with nutritional fiber supplements. These medications include Digoxin (for congestive heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms), Aspirin, Carbamazepine (anti-seizure), Lithium, Warfarin, and Nitrofurantion (antibiotic for urinary tract infection).
Fiber supplements also reduce blood sugar levels, so insulin-takers may have to adjust their dosage. It is advisable to take one's fiber supplements two to three hours before or after other medications. Consult your physician to be sure.
Though nutritional fiber supplements can help you conveniently meet the required fiber intake, you should not limit themselves to such supplements. Incorporate fiber from natural sources into your diet. Eat whole bran cereals for breakfast and snack on fruits.
If you are taking fiber supplements, be sure to drink a lot of water, too. Fiber absorbs water, so if your intake of liquids is low and your fiber intake is high, you may get constipated.
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Jean Helmet runs a series of health websites, We offer a free health book for subscribers to our websites newsletter. We cover everything you need to know on nutrition and how to improve your general overall health. Check out our nutrition e-book, for more information on nutrition and the products we use.
By: Jean Helmet