Gut health is a cornerstone of overall good health, and one of the most important pieces of gut health is enough fiber. Unfortunately, most people do not consume enough fiber. On average most people get about 15 grams of fiber a day, when most children and adults need at least 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day for good health.
Benefits of Fiber:
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate. However, unlike most other carbohydrates, fiber doesn’t break down into sugar when digested. This quality is one of the main benefits of fiber that allows it to reduce the risk of various illnesses. Higher fiber intake has been linked to: lower blood pressure, lower insulin levels, reducing weight, and lowering cholesterol levels.
In addition, there are also the benefits to the gastrointestinal tract, or gut. Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints, and consumption of fiber seems to relieve and prevent constipation. Fiber acts as a bulk forming laxative, which adds bulk volume and increases water content in the large intestines and helps to promote bowel movements.
Types of Fiber:
There are two main types of fiber, soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water, can help lower glucose levels as well as help lower blood cholesterol. Foods with soluble fiber include: oatmeal, nuts, beans, lentils, apples and blueberries.
Insoluble fiber, which does not dissolve in water, can help food move through your digestive system, promoting regularity and helping prevent constipation. Foods with insoluble fibers include: wheat, whole wheat bread, whole grain couscous, brown rice, legumes, carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes.
The best food sources of fiber are: whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, legumes and nuts. However, as mentioned previously, most people do not consume sufficient fiber in their diet. Therefore, for some people it makes sense to add supplemental fiber to your diet. Psyllium husk is one type of natural fiber that can work well as an addition to a healthy diet.
Who Can Use Psyllium Husk?
Generally speaking psyllium husk is safe and easy to use for children and adults in the correct dose. However, when using additional fiber there is the possibility of taking too much. If you experience chest pain, vomiting, abdominal pain, or difficulty swallowing or breathing then you may need to consult with a health care practitioner.