Dietary Fiber Benefits for Bloating and Constipation

Dietary Fiber Benefits

Dietary fiber benefits are plentiful, but mainly center around improving digestive health. Fiber itself, as indicated by The National Institutes of Health, comes from plants and is considered a form of carbohydrates. There are two different kinds of fiber. Soluble fiber is the kind that absorbs water as it passes through the digestive tract. Insoluble fiber does digest and does not allow for the absorption of water, and therefore passes though the intestines unchanged and undisturbed. Both types can be obtained from everyday foods like veggies, fruits and grains and, both types are very important types of dietary fiber.

While soluble fiber can be valuable for weight management, often adding a sense of fullness which can lead to less over consumption, it is the insoluble fiber that is known for its ability to regulate the digestive tract. As this type of fiber moves through the intestine without taking on water and being broken down, it can help move along “build ups” in the intestine thereby relieving constipation and preventing it when consumed regularly. And, while a rapid introduction of foods designed to reap maximum dietary fiber benefits can lead to symptoms like stomach bloating and gas, regular consumption and a healthy and balanced diet that incorporates daily sources of dietary fiber can prevent recurrences of these symptoms as a part of digestive system maintenance.

Some people that elect not to incorporate high fiber foods into their everyday diets opt instead for fiber supplements. And, according to Dr. Michael F. Picco from Mayo Clinic, there is little safety concern to doing so if dietary sources prove unachievable or inadequate to regulate digestion. However, there is some concern to getting dietary fiber benefits from supplements instead of from food sources including increased potential for adverse reactions like gas, bloating and abdominal discomfort. In addition, there is also some question about the potential for fiber supplements to decrease the absorption ability of certain medications like some blood thinners and aspirin.

Psyllium husk is one of the most common forms of supplements available and it is used to treat constipation because it increases the amount of bulk in the intestines which can help with movement. It also adds water, another component that can make passing stool less challenging. However, as with other supplement forms, psyllium husk carries a potential absorption change to medications and can also bring on unpleasant symptoms early in use until the body adjusts to it. While supplements like psyllium can be useful, particularly for combating constipation, they are no substitute for natural dietary fiber benefits obtained from food sources.

Regulating the digestive system to help treat and prevent recurrent bouts of constipation is incredibly important to contributing to an overall well being. And, there are many, many foods rich in fiber to choose from that can eliminate the need for supplements altogether. Fruits like raspberries and apricots are great choices, adding loads of dietary fiber benefits in a sweet and delightful package. And dried fruit benefits from some of these sources sans water can include providing a rapid remedy for constipation. In addition to sweet treat picks for foods rich in fiber, vegetables are also great choices with carrots and even tomato paste adding in bursts of filling fiber. Beans, nuts and legumes as well as grains are all foods rich in fiber to consider in place of supplements.

It is undisputable that getting nutrition from food sources instead of supplements is ideal and with the wealth of available high fiber foods in almost never ending variety, there is little excuse not to incorporate naturally derived dietary fiber benefits into a diet to maintain digestive regularity and overall health. For battling recurrent bouts of constipation, combating occasional irregularity or eliminating symptoms that can prove uncomfortable, getting enough dietary fiber is essential to any healthy and well balanced diet. Preventing long term and chronic illnesses and potentially staving off obesity are additional reasons to make sure you are getting your recommended daily value.

References:
https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/dietaryfiber.html
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fiber-supplements/

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