Fiber & Safer Pregnancies

Fiber is important for everyone, but especially if you’re pregnant!  On average, a high-fiber diet supports weight loss, lowers blood pressure, prevents constipation, and lowers your risk of heart disease. If you are pregnant, a high-fiber diet will do all these things and more! 

Constant Constipation

“high-fiber diets in pregnancies helps avoids constipation and hemorrhoids”

For those who are pregnant, their body will undergo dramatic changes to make room for the baby. The body will experience organ displacement as the baby grows larger, which may cause some constipation. A study found high-fiber diets in pregnancies helps avoid constipation and hemorrhoids during this time.  So, to relieve any constipation, try some fiber, but not too much! Ease into it and drink plenty of fluids along the way. 

Although, constipation is a quick fix, there are other conditions that can occur during some pregnancies like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia. Keep reading to find out why these aren’t great to have. 

Pregnancy Diabetes and High-Blood Pressure!

If you didn’t know before, there is a specific type of diabetes that occurs only when a person is pregnant. This is called gestational diabetes and occurs within 2% to 10% of pregnancies every year! Usually this kind of diabetes leaves with pregnancy or it may turn into type 2 diabetes!

Fortunately, if you are planning to get pregnant, you are able to prevent these outcomes before they start! As always, we recommend speaking with your doctor to find the options that best fit you. 

To prevent gestational diabetes, make sure you are at a healthy weight before getting pregnant and getting constant physical activity. And remember, fiber is a great way for you to control your weight!

“What if I’ve already been diagnosed with gestational diabetes?”

Well, it can be managed by checking your blood sugar, eating a healthy and well-balanced diet (this involves a high-fiber diet), getting moderate physical activity, and monitoring your baby’s health with a doctor. 

Now, on to the next condition. 

Preeclampsia occurs during pregnancy spiking up a person’s blood pressure. In fact, 1 out of every 20 pregnancies will experience this condition in the third trimester! The most common cure is delivery but luckily, there are plenty of things you can do to prevent it!

It’s No Secret, it’s Just Fiber!

“high-fiber diets significantly reduced a pregnancy’s risk of experiencing preeclampsia in their third trimester by 67%!”

As soon as your first trimester, it is recommended to start eating more fiber! The majority of the U.S. population’s fiber consumption is below the recommended standard, so quit slacking! As we’ve discussed in previous blog post, it is recommended for men and women to consume 20-38 grams of fiber a day. This is around where most studies have determined what is a high-fiber diet for pregnancies. And believe me, you’ll know when you’ve had enough!

One study found high-fiber diets significantly reduced a pregnancy’s risk of experiencing preeclampsia in their third trimester by 67%! That’s over half!

Even by adding two slices of whole-grain bread into their daily diet found to reduce the risk by 14%. Thats, near half…

The Many Shapes and Forms of Fiber

You may be asking yourself, “how do I get more fiber into my diet?”.

Luckily there a lot of the foods you probably already eat that contain high amounts of fiber. But remember, it’s important to ease your way into fiber and always drink plenty of fluids with your fiber. Do as your doctor recommends! 

Some high fiber foods include fruits, veggies, beans and legumes, and nuts but if all these make you sick, try natural fiber supplements like Naturlax!  

At Naturlax, our fiber supplements are naturally derived from the husks of the Plantago ovata plant, safe enough for your pregnancies and but still effective. Some studies even recommended natural fiber supplements, like psyllium, for those who are pregnant and struggle to achieve a high-fiber diet. 

Pop Quiz! Just Kidding, Let’s Review!

Let’s review what we learned today: fiber is especially important for those who are pregnant. Among the benefits fiber already provides, fiber can also help manage gestational diabetes and prevent preeclampsia. Fiber is easy to find in anyway grocery store! But it’s also easy and effective to try natural fiber supplements.

Enough fiber a day, can keep these conditions away!

Fiber for Fitness: How to Achieve Better Performance 💪🏼

For most people, summer time means beach trips, vacation, and free time (finally!)… but for athletes, it means fitness packets, team training, and tournaments. 

BUT WAIT! 

Before you jump to the conclusion that this post isn’t for you because you “aren’t an athlete,” think again, my friend! Whether you are an active exerciser or not, there is still something to learn from this post. We promise! 

We’ve mentioned in previous posts that fiber has a lot of benefits, so today we are going to tell you how fiber benefits  your physical fitness, when the optimal time for fiber intake is, and when to lay off of it. Yes, too much fiber can hurt you, just like anything else, but knowing when you’ve had too much and when you haven’t had enough is another challenge we want to help you overcome. 

Let’s begin…

Why is fiber important for athletes?

Like everyone else in the world, athletes have a hard time establishing and maintaining healthy eating habits, too. You may workout 10+ hours a week, but to stay healthy, you have to consider everything you eat. Athletes tend to have a high intake of protein and carbs, but when it comes to fiber, they fall short just like the rest of us. 

Reminder: it is recommended that the daily intake of fiber is 20-35 grams for men and women regardless of physical activity. 

With the right intake of fiber, athletes and non-athletes alike can have better appetite control, improved insulin and blood sugar levels, and a stronger immune system. These health benefits are crucial to improving athletic performance and overall physical fitness.

Break it down a little further… How does fiber help exactly?

Appetite Control

Do you find yourself hungry throughout the day and eating small snacks in addition to the meals you make? Do you eat and not feel satisfied? Or eat a meal you were craving, but still feel hungry afterwards?

A high intake of fiber fixes this problem! Let’s learn how. Fiber helps control your appetite by absorbing water. Ever notice that after eating apples or broccoli that you are less hungry than when you eat a pint of ice cream? That’s because apples and broccoli are amongst the many foods that are rich in fiber. They absorb water and create a gel-like substance in the gastrointestinal tract that takes up more space in your stomach. 

So when you eat high fiber foods, your stomach is only concerned with breaking down the fiber because it’s taking up all the space in your stomach! Since fiber slows down digestion, you’re full for a longer period of time, which means you snack less, which makes it easier to eat clean. And for athletes, bodybuilders, and people trying to lose weight, this is a perfect solution to keep them disciplined in eating healthy.  

Insulin Control

A high-fiber meal has several positive effects on your digestion in addition to making you feel full faster and for a longer period of time. When you combine a high-fiber meal with protein, it can help distribute the release of nutrients like glucose into your bloodstream. That’s great for your body composition regardless of whether you are trying to bulk up, slim down, or maintain the physique you have! Regulating blood sugar levels and increasing insulin sensitivity can help prevent diabetes, obesity, and heart disease. 

Exercising and a balanced diet go hand-in-hand in preventing obesity-related diseases and other illnesses. An active lifestyle does not mean that you are automatically immune to sickness which is why it is so important to pay attention to what you’re putting into your body.

Immune System Boost

We saved the best or last! 

When you eat fiber, you’re not just feeding yourself — you’re also feeding the “good” bacteria in your gut. This bacteria helps to reduce inflammation and enhance immune function. Now, if you eat the right amount of fiber on a daily basis, guess what that means for your immune system? That’s right, you’re on your way to having a healthier body! 

A stronger immune system means you’ll get sick less often, which means you get to spend more time training and less time missing life’s most important events. It also helps you to recover faster from training by producing the necessary cells to support tissue repair. When you workout, you’re creating microscopic tears in your muscle fibers, which is why you may feel sore afterward. Your muscle is rebuilding the tissue it tore, but also making it stronger and a strong immune system will produce an abundance of cells to help regenerate your muscle and recover faster.💪🏼💪🏼💪🏼

Pretty cool, huh? 😎

So, when should I eat fiber-rich meals and when should I not?  

“Understanding the role that fiber plays in energy availability and digestion can help athletes further fine tune their nutrition strategy for training and race day. When you’re planning carbohydrate, protein and fat intake, be sure to consider fiber as part of a well-rounded and healthy approach to your training diet.”

Quick Recap: One of the great benefits of having a consistent intake of the recommended amount of fiber is that it helps you to control your appetite, which is great because it makes it harder to snack in between meals.

But here’s the kicker: too much fiber can also cause gastrointestinal distress because it slows down the digestion process. 

Too much fiber intake close to a workout can actually cause some issues both while you workout and after. Thankfully, there is a simple solution to this! Eat fiber foods a minimum of two hours prior to your workout. 

But a couple of days before a high intensity event, like on race day or game day, decrease your fiber intake. Why? Decreasing your fiber intake on the days leading up to an event can decrease the chances of having gastrointestinal distress during that event, and the last thing anyone wants is a gas cramp.  

Based on the article written by Pamela Nisevich, a dietician who specializes in sports, athletes should eat fiber rich meals on rest days or after workouts. Nisevich suggests athletes also gradually increase their fiber intake because it requires a lot of water and could lead to dehydration and constipation. 

So if you, reader, start to increase your fiber intake, DRINK LOTS OF WATER! You want to make sure that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs to work efficiently and successfully. 

DO YOUR RESEARCH

We may know the facts about fiber from research and personal experience, but we aren’t doctors or nutritionists. Ask your doctor, dietician, or nutritionist about any changes you make to your diet or what you should eat to improve your health. 

Summary 

DO increase your intake of fiber on rest days and after workouts with your protein meals, so your muscles can recover faster, your stomach can efficiently distribute the nutrients to your body to give it the energy it needs, and to help balance your metabolism. 

DON’T increase your fiber intake a couple of days before and on the day of the big event because it can cause bloatedness and probably negatively impact your performance. You should still eat fiber foods like an apple, but don’t go crazy. 

DEFINITELY talk to you a nutritionist or dietician about what foods and behaviors are best for you to improve your health. 

Now that you know how fiber can help you, you can make better decisions on what to include in your diet and when. If you still don’t know what to eat, we made a list of foods you can eat and make that will provide you with protein and fiber:

Foods high in Protein and Fiber

Food (serving)Protein (g)Fiber (g)
Almonds (1 oz.)63.4
Oats (1 cup)1116.5
Broccoli (1 cup)32.4
Quinoa (1 cup)85.2
Lentils (1 cup)1815.6
Pumpkin Seeds
(1 oz.)
99.6
Brussels Sprouts
(1 cup)
44
Kidney Beans (100g)246.4
Chickpeas (100g)198.3
Chia Seeds (100g)1134.4
Baked Potato:      
S  (~ 138g)     
M (~ 173g)     
L  (~ 299g)

3.5
4.3
7

3
3.8
7
Brown Rice (1 cup)5195
Visit UCSF Health to learn more.

On-the-Go Solutions

Add to your protein shakes, smoothies, water bottles, etc! Quick AND simple

References

Increasing Fiber Intake

Fiber’s Role in Muscle Building

Fiber Intake Guidelines for Endurance Athletes

Digestive Health for Active People

High Fiber Tropical Smoothie To Start Your Day

It’s a beautiful day and the birds are chirping outside the Naturlax kitchen window. We are starting off our day with a bang as we line up our fruits for our Nutritious High Fiber Tropical smoothie.

What’s the secret to our amazing texture and taste you ask? Well, our little secret is that we love to add in Naturlax pineapple psyllium fiber. It supports us in creating the smooth texture in our smoothie.

We kick off our days with this delicious smoothie as it helps us get the right amount of nutritional support for our day.  It’s super important to make sure that we get all our daily needed nutrients.

Did you know that women need approximately 25g of fiber per day? For men, it’s even more, with a recommended 38g of fiber per day? Yeah, this blew our minds as well especially since we found out that on average adults only consume about half of that. Luckily one serving size of Naturlax contains 4g of fibers, which can help you get closer to your goal. That is why we enjoy adding it into our smoothies.

So before we hit the floor running we like to take some time to nourish our bodies with all that we need.  Of course, we couldn’t keep this recipe to ourselves…

High Fiber Tropical Smoothie Recipe

What you’ll need…

🍍 ½ cup of Pineapple

🍌 ½ cup of Banana

🥛 1 cup of Almond Milk

🥄 ½ cup of Yogurt

💗 1 Packet of Naturlax Pineapple Psyllium Fiber

❄️ 1 cup of Ice

Directions

  1. Add in all items into a blender
  2. Then blend
  3. Pour into your favorite glass and enjoy


This is great for a morning boost or a pick me up throughout the day. To check out our 80+ flavor selections visit NaturLax

Why It’s Important To Eat High Fiber Foods

We’ve all heard that it’s important to consume a high fiber diet but what does that look like? What are the beneits of a high fiber diet? What is a high fiber diet? How much fiber should you be consuming daily?

One of the many benefits of a high fiber diet is that it helps to regulate bowel movements, fiber intake in high amounts can help get rid of a lot of health issues including improving low blood sugar levels (which ultimately improves brain function and natural energy levels).

It also supports in lowering blood pressure, aids in weight loss. What fiber is mostly known for is in supporting the lowering the risk of gastrointestinal issues, such as constipation. Increasing the amount of fiber you consume on a daily basis will alleviate both high cholesterol and reduce body weight.

It is not just us who believe this. Recent studies commissioned by the World Health Organization show that high fiber consumption on a daily basis reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and gastrointestinal cancers. (US News)

The research done by Andrew Reynolds and his team concluded that…

“The research team noted that worldwide most people eat less than 20 grams of fiber each day, a figure that dips to just 15 grams per day among Americans. For examples of foods: 1 slice of whole wheat bread has 2 grams of fiber; 1 cup of boiled broccoli has 5 grams; 1 medium orange has 3 grams, and 1 cup of cooked black beans has 15 grams.”

by Alan Mozes, HealthDay Reporter, US World News and Report

The Average consumption of fiber in men and women in the United States sits at a lowly 15g per day. Doctors recommend that men should consume at least 38g per day, and women should consume at least 25g per day. Without the recommended daily average, your digestive system can’t perform at its best.

Easy High Fiber Protein Pancakes To Make Today

We recently shared on our Instagram page this pancake recipe and we thought we would share it here as well. This is an easy high fiber protein pancake recipe, so if you are craving some pancakes but want to stay in line with your healthy eating them these pancakes are for you.

I don’t know about you but for us, there is nothing like waking up to the smell of pancakes in the morning. The thought of that first bite into a stack of warm fluff pancakes makes our mouths water. What’s even better is that you can add some extra flavor and high fiber with just one simple ingredient!

To add in an extra notch of fiber to your pancake mix you can add Naturlax psyllium fiber. That’s right! Our customers are sharing that they are adding our fiber into their pancake mix for some additional flavor and fiber. Our customers are raving over two of their favorite flavors, Naturlax Chai Flavored Psyllium Fiber and Naturlax Vanilla Flavored Psyllium Fiber for their pancake mix.

Here is a simple recipe that you can try at home.

Easy High Fiber Protein Pancakes Recipe

What you’ll need…

Directions

  1. To star off mash the banana in a bowl with a couple of forks. Add in your eggs, baking powder, protein powder, and Naturlax Fiber. Then whisk until well combined.
  2. Then spray the skillet with nonstick cooking spray before adding your mix
  3. Wait until your pancake starts to bubble on top before flipping the pancake over. Wait until both sides are golden brown before removing them off the heat.
  4. Once the pancakes are ready you can plate and garnish them with your favorite fruits and syrup
  5. Enjoy

We hope you have enjoyed them! Let us know how they turned out in the comments below.

Types of Fiber 101

In our previous post about Why It’s Important To Eat High Fiber Foods (link will go here), we spoke about the many benefits of a high fiber diet and the recommended daily fiber consumption. Now that we are aware of this information many of us may find it difficult to consume the recommended amount of fiber per day. For many of us, we think that eating fruits and vegetables is the key to optimal stomach health. However, many are unaware that there are two different types of fiber, each with it’s individual health benefits. The question is, where is your fiber coming from?

DIETARY FIBER

Breaking down soluble and insoluble fiber…

SOLUBLE FIBER

  • Soluble fiber dissolves in water and when broken down forms a gelatinous substance in the colon that brings down the rate at which sugars are distributed in the blood.
  • It collects bad gut bacteria, complex carbohydrates, and dietary fibers that our body otherwise cannot digest.
  • It also helps lower the symptoms of constipation.

INSOLUBLE FIBER

  • Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and but does moves through the large intestine at a slower rate of pace.
  • It passes through the digestive system in the same form as it is digested.
  • It attracts water to the stool, making it easier to pass.
  • Regulates pH levels in the intestines.

It is important to know what types of fiber you are consuming to truly understand its benefits. Are you looking to collect bad gut bacteria or regulate your intestines pH levels?

Another important question to ask is… Are you consuming a high quality source of fiber? These are just some questions to keep in mind when you are shopping around for your source of fiber.

Relieving Constipation

Constipation is commonly recognized as an irregularity in bowel movement. Having difficulties passing stool? You are most likely experiencing the symptoms of constipation. Regular bowel movements should occur at least once a day, if not every other day. (Healthline).

Besides just being an inconvenience, constipation can cause a variety of health issues. Symptoms of constipation can be:

  • Constantly feeling bloated.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Discomfort or difficulty when attempting to make a bowel movement.
  • Dry or hard stool leading to tears or hemorrhoids.
  • Low energy.
  • Nausea or indigestion.
  • Even chest or back pain.


In addition to regular recommended daily fiber consumption, how else can I deal with symptoms of constipation?

Get Moving

Regular exercise is important to maintaining good health but it can also help with symptoms of constipation. Exercise increases blood flow, which when directed toward the digestive tract, can strengthen your colon. Just like every other muscle in your body, a strong digestive system makes for a healthier you.

Go Easy On The Dairy

Though dairy has its own health benefits, it is high in fat. Lactose content can be detrimental if you consume too much of it.  Dairy is a binding agent and can make constipation worse. Other alternatives are vegetables that are high in calcium and rich in fiber. Alternatives to consume are kale, broccoli, or spinach. Also, whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa and chia seeds can also support you.

Source- Everyday Health – Foods to Avoid

Stay Hydrated

Soluble fiber attracts water and is easily dissolved, it is important to make sure that you are drinking the right amount of water to benefit your overall health. Your colon absorbs the water that comes from the food you digest. It’s important to drink enough water in order to keep the rest of your body hydrated. Without proper hydration, food matter that isn’t absorbed into the body is left and harder to get out. Staying well hydrated will replace what your colon uses to nourish the rest of your body, and get rid of what it doesn’t need with ease.

Source – Health-US News – Constipation Solution

Get To Sleep

To have your body performing at its best it is important to get enough sleep. A regular sleeping schedule aids you in maintaining a well-functioning digestive system.

Source – Tuck – How Sleep Affects Digestion and Vice Versa

Listen To Your Body

Listening to your body is the best way to avoid health problems. If you feel like you are maintaining a healthy lifestyle and still have trouble, see a medical professional right away. Prolonged constipation can be a sign of an underlying illness or medical condition.

Check Your Medications

Are you someone who takes daily medication? it’s important to be aware of the side effects. Antidepressants and pain medications most commonly affect regularity. In a quick fix, many people will take laxatives to help. When you rely on laxatives alone to help you go, your body will become accustomed to having that help. To avoid adding another medication to relieve the symptoms of constipation, go for a meal that is high in fiber or a fiber supplement like psyllium husk.

Source – WebMD – Lifestyle Habits that Cause Constipation

High Fiber Diet: Why it’s important and what you should eat

A high fiber diet can support us in many ways but many fall short of the recommended daily amount

Why its important to have a high fiber diet?

Recent data has shown that having a high fiber diet can support us in many ways but sadly many fall far short of the recommended daily amount. There are many benefits to eating a high fiber diet:

  • Supports weight loss
  • Lowers cholesterol and blood sugar levels
  • Lowers risk of cardiovascular diseases (stroke and heart disease)
  • Prevents constipation

How much fiber should I be eating?

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has stated that:

  • Women should aim for 25 grams of fiber per day
  • Men should target 38 grams

What should I eat to increase my fiber intake?

A great way to naturally consume more high fiber food is by adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Below we share a few examples of high fiber foods:

Sources of fiber

There are two types of fiber that are most common. To read more on them check out our last blog post (Link goes here). Here is a quick breakdown:

Soluble Fiber: dissolves in water and helps lower cholesterol

Insoluble Fiber: doesn’t dissolve in water but adds density to stool. Helps prevent constipation.

Other sources of fiber

There are many alternatives to fiber, such as sprinkling chia seeds on your oatmeal. But the easiest and most effective is finding a high fiber supplement that is both Soluble and Insoluble. It is important to do some research when looking for a fiber supplement to make sure they are using high-quality psyllium powder as a source of fiber.

Did this support you? Let us know in the comment box below