Fiber supplements are often used to meet daily fiber needs. Please note, the benefits of fiber supplements are not equivalent to vegetables and fruits. Find out in this article about Best Fiber Supplement For Regularity (Women and for Kids)
Fiber becomes an essential nutrient for the body. Because of the worry of not being able to meet the needs of fiber, some people may consume fiber in the form of fiber supplements. Is it safe and beneficial, fiber supplements?
Fiber supplements, should be consumed?
Dietary fiber offers a variety of health benefits. Let’s say, controlling cholesterol, maintaining blood sugar levels, preventing constipation, to help lose weight. Even so, many people whose fiber needs are not fulfilled.
As a shortcut, fiber supplements may be an option. However, it is still unclear whether the benefits of fiber supplements are the same as the natural fiber present in foods.
Nevertheless, fiber supplements may be beneficial if intended to overcome constipation and diarrhea, instead of being consumed to control cholesterol and maintain heart health.
Do Children Need to Take a Fiber Supplement Every Day?
Fiber supplements are chosen by some parents to address the problem of children who do not like vegetables and fruits. It is also considered a practical solution to help meet children’s fiber needs.
However, are fiber supplements good for children or not? Do all the kids need it? Let’s learn more about fiber supplements for children here.
How important is fiber for a child?
Dietary fiber has a very important function in the body. Fiber makes the child full while smoothing the child’s digestive system. A diet with sufficient fiber can prevent constipation. Foods rich in fiber are also a good source of vitamins and minerals so they can help reduce the risk of certain cancers and also obesity.
Therefore, the child’s fiber needs must be met properly. Dietary fiber can be obtained from a variety of sources, can be obtained from vegetables, fruits, nuts, brown rice, as well as processed whole grains such as whole-wheat bread or cereals rich in fiber.
Forms and benefits of fiber supplements
If you want to try fiber supplements, there is a form and choice of fiber supplements with their respective pluses. Some forms of fiber supplements, namely:
Psyllium, also known as ispaghula, is produced from the seed husks of the Plantago ovata plant. Psyllium contains about 70% soluble water, which is reported to help increase satiety and slow digestion. Psyllium also contains insoluble fibers, which help to condition the stool to become denser.
Inulin is one form of prebiotic fiber. That is, this form of fiber can increase the population of good bacteria in the intestines.
Good bacteria themselves are important for the body, as they play a role in the absorption of food nutrients. These bacteria also produce hormones related to hunger and anxiety.
A methylcellulose is a form of fiber that is also soluble in water. These fibers are made from cellulose, an important structure in plants. Methylcellulose is less likely to trigger flatulence and gas after its use.
Although it does not cause gas, methylcellulose is not like psyllium that can feed the good bacteria present in the intestines.
Polycarbophil is similar to methylcellulose, which can absorb water in the gastrointestinal tract and make the stool denser and softer. Polycarbophil is also less at risk of triggering flatulence.
Polycarbophil is potentially used to handle constipation. This supplement cannot be consumed by individuals who have difficulty swallowing.
Also, I have a piece of information about What Foods Are High In Fiber For Diabetics that explains in meeting food intake for diabetics.
Are there any side effects and risks from fiber supplements?
There is no evidence yet that mentions the dangers of fiber supplements to the body. Side effects that can arise can be flatulence and gas can occur at the beginning of use.
Although it is said to be harmless, we are not advised to rely too heavily on supplements. Try to meet the fiber needs of varied foods, because we will also get vitamins and other minerals from healthy foods.
Increasing your intake of water is important if you are taking fiber supplements, or eating foods that are high in fiber. Fluids are needed by the body to push fiber through the gastrointestinal tract. Lack of fluids but plenty of fiber can lead to constipation.
As revealed above, consult a doctor before you want to try fiber supplements. Because fiber supplements are at risk of triggering interactions with certain medications.
How much fiber should be consumed every day?
- There are 2 ways to estimate your recommended daily fiber intake. The first is based on caloric intake.
- That for every 1,000 calories you consume, you must get at least 14 grams of fiber to get the most out of it.
- For example, an active teenager who eats 2,000 calories every day will need 28 grams of fiber, while an active teenager who eats 1,500 calories only needs 22 grams of fiber.
- The more common rule is that women younger than 50 need at least 25 grams of fiber every day while men in the same age group need 38 grams of fiber every day.
- Men over 51 years of age need 30 grams of fiber while women who are over 51 years of age need 21 grams of fiber every day.
Where can we buy fiber supplements?
Fiber supplements, including those found in local or pharmaceutical grocery stores, typically include one or both types of soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms gel-like substances, which can help the body regulate blood sugar and lower cholesterol.
Insoluble fiber is insoluble in water but increases most of the impurities. Insoluble fiber is very helpful to promote intestinal regularity and prevent constipation.
Is fiber supplement safe for women and children?
These supplements, unlike stimulant laxatives, are safe for daily use. Stimulant laxatives force the intestines to pass stool while fiber supplements only draw more water into the stool, which makes them softer and easier to pass naturally and hence the importance of intake of these supplements.
While they act quickly, long-term use of stimulant laxatives can lead to dependence on them to defecate regularly. There is no such dependence associated with the daily use of fiber supplements.
However, it is much better to get the recommended fiber daily from whole food sources such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, which are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients essential for good health.
The best fiber is in healthy foods
Taking fiber supplements does look promising, especially if you don’t like vegetables and fruit. However, of course, fiber supplements can not completely replace the nutrients of the original diet, despite having a large amount of fiber.
The best way to meet fiber needs is to eat healthy foods, for example:
- Fruits, such as pears, apples, strawberries, and bananas
- Vegetables, such as broccoli and carrots
- Legume plants, such as lentils, peas, kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans
- Whole cereals, such as quinoa, whole grains, and brown rice
- Other fiber sources, such as chia seeds