The holiday season means joy, socially-distant family time, and more food than can fit on the table! This can also include the uncomfortable feeling of being bloated and maybe even constipation. But enjoying the holidays doesn’t always have to end up this way. We have crafted a few tips and tricks to make sure you still feel great even after the holidays.
Don’t get Bloated on All-Year Round Foods
We’ve all been there, completely overwhelmed by all the delicious home-made plates that we only get to have once a year. Some dishes are too good to pass on. But things like turkey, pumpkin pie, bread rolls, and cranberry sauce can be purchased all year long. So, there’s no need to break your diet or overindulge on these items.
Also, try a lighter hand on the starchy foods like potatoes and white breads or try avoiding them altogether to avoid that bloated feeling.
Move Your Body to Help Digestion
Make sure to move! Stuffing yourself and being a couch potato isn’t helpful for your digestion. We suggest taking a walk or doing some form of activity to get your body moving. This can be something as simple as the post-dinner clean up.
You don’t have to do heavy cardio if your body isn’t used to it. A simple walk around the block can help digestion and prevent the bloated feeling.
Water to Prevent Constipation
“The intestines require enough liquid to move waste through.”
Staying hydrated is always important but here’s why water can help you during the holidays. Water is great at preventing constipation because it helps keep the stool soft so it’s easier to pass along. [sorry if this was TMI but hey, we’re a fiber company ]. After all, “dehydration is one of the most common causes of chronic constipation“.
Water is especially important if you plan to consume alcohol while waiting for the main course. Alcohol is very dehydrating which will lead to holiday constipation! So, make sure to include water!
Staying hydrated is just as important, if not more important than fiber. After all, you need to stay hydrated while intaking high-fiber foods. Let’s talk about our favorite digestion aid, fiber!
Fiber for the Holidays
Instead try reaching for more fiber-rich sides like spinach, green beans, carrots, and whole grain breads. Fiber is absolutely essential for handling big dinners because it will keep you feeling fuller for longer. Also, it will move things along so you won’t experience holiday bloating and constipation.
Don’t skip breakfast! Some people will skip meals as preparation for the big dinner but if you are someone who is inexperienced with fasting it won’t actually help. So, don’t skip breakfast. Instead try a high-fiber breakfast like oatmeal, chia pudding, or a smoothie to get some fiber in before the big feast! We even have a Mini Pumpkin Pancake recipe filled with over 4grams of fiber!
If you’re thinking of trying all-natural fiber supplements then we have the deal for you! For the first time, we are offering a Fall Holiday Fiber Bundle! An exclusive deal that can keep you feeling great for the holiday season!
Did you know psyllium isn’t the only plant based fiber supplement? That’s right! We’ve done some searching and found two other plant based fiber supplements. This includes inulin and acacia, and no we don’t mean açaí.
We are going to talk about how these fibers are different and how they are similar from one another. You can determine for yourself which plant based fiber is the best.
As always, we recommend speaking with your doctor to find the best fiber supplement for you.
They All Do This
But let’s start with the basics. All of these fibers are prebiotic and soluble. Prebiotic means it feeds and nourishes the good bacteria in your stomach and stops the production of bad bacteria.
Let’s start with our personal favorite [since we use this in our products], psyllium!
Psyllium comes from the seeds of Plantago ovata. Just like the other two fibers, psyllium absorbs water and creates a gel-like substance in your stomach. This fiber is typically found and used in the market unlike the other two, making it more accessible. And with products like ours, you can enjoy plant based fiber powders in over 80 delicious flavors!
Benefits of Psyllium
This plant based fiber comes with loads of benefits like, relieving constipation, appetite control, insulin control, maintaining blood sugar levels, lowering cholesterol-you get it. The list can go on and on.
Unlike acacia fiber, psyllium fiber has been shown to be more effective in lowering the level of blood sugar and blood cholesterol. Something to keep in mind.
Speaking of acacia fiber, let’s discuss this one next!
No, this isn’t the same thing as açaí. But an açaí bowl does sound super refreshing…
Anyways, acacia is derived from the sap of the Acacia Senegal tree. Unlike psyllium, acacia isn’t gritty and doesn’t thicken in water.
Benefits of Acacia
Just like psyllium, acacia suppresses your appetite, reduces gut inflammation, alleviates constipation, relieves diarrhea, and supports in weight loss.
Unfortunately, since Acacia isn’t as popular as psyllium there have been far less studies on how acacia affects the body. But researchers have found acacia fiber helps protect our livers from acetaminophen’s (Tylenol) “toxic effects”. Researchers also found when treating fecal incontinence, acacia fiber didn’t work as well as psyllium fiber.
Thank you, next.
Inulin is found in vegetables like onions and garlic but it is derived from chicory root when used as fiber supplements. Also, it doesn’t have a strong taste so you can add inulin to foods without it disturbing the flavor! This explains why it’s used to replace fat or sugar in foods like ice cream, dairy products, and baked goods–you can’t taste it!
Benefits of Inulin
Other than having a undetectable flavor, inulin has a reduced caloric value. And since it’s a prebiotic it can treat and prevent eczema and even “traveler’s diarrhea”! Important to note for your next international trip.
Let’s review first! These plant-based fiber supplements are all prebiotic and soluble. Soluble fibers alleviate constipation, relieve diarrhea, and reduce gut inflammation making a happier stomach.
Check with your doctor to see if fiber supplements are right for you! But did you know that natural fiber supplements can have negative effects on certain medications. You can read all about this in our post here.
Psyllium fiber is great for your body but it isn’t always the best when taken with certain medications. Firstly, we recommended speaking with a doctor before adding fiber supplements into your diet.
If you are considering taking fiber supplements, that’s great! It shows you are invested in yourself and your body. But there are some things you must be cautious of when taking fiber supplements.
Too Much Fiber Isn’t Good
Yes, too much fiber can be a bad thing. When beginning to incorporate more fiber into your diet, proceed with caution. Don’t take too much too fast, this can cause bloating and diarrhea. Ease into it so you can enjoy all of fiber’s natural benefits.
Fiber Supplements & Medicine
Our all-natural Fiber Powders are sourced from the husks of the Plantago ovata plant (psyllium). Although our fiber comes from some of the best stuff, it has natural negative effects in certain medications. See, that’s why it’s important to consult with your doctor, especially if you are taking any medications.
Since our soluble fiber doesn’t get absorbed and isn’t easily digested, (this is why fiber gives you that full feeling), it can slow the absorption of the medication too.
Dr. Gharib from Harvard Medical School said it best when they said,
All this information and more can be found here! Remember, most of these interactions are mild but it’s important to talk to your doctor before starting fiber supplements.
“Should I Not Give My Body Fiber?”
No, we need some fiber in our bodies. But what is a person to do? Well, as mentioned earlier, talk with your healthcare provider. They may just recommend taking the fiber supplements 2 to 3 hours before or after you take you medication.
If none of these options fit you, don’t worry, there are plenty of fruits and veggies that can add some fiber into your diet without causing an issue.
Since natural psyllium fiber isn’t absorbed and digested, (adding bulk into your stool) it can have a negative interaction with certain medications. This is if you are taking your medication around the same as taking fiber supplements.
While most of these interactions are mild we encourage you to speak with your doctor before adding fiber supplements to your diet.
Beginning a diet is never easy and can come with a lot of challenges but digestion doesn’t have to be one of them. The keto diet has taken social media by storm and we are going to explain why you should pair keto with some fiber!
Keto Diet Explained
So, what exactly is the keto diet and what does it do to your body?
Imagine instead of your body running on sugar, it ran on fat! That’s what the keto diet does. It is a high-fat, high-protein, and low carbohydrates diet. We all know carbohydrates eventually turn into sugar so things like bread, pasta, and starchy veggies are all foods to limit on keto.
After limiting your body from carbohydrates, it will then begin to run off fat. But the beginning transition to keto can come with a few challenges.
If you are considering changing to a keto diet, we recommend speaking with your doctor to see if the diet is right for you.
Beginning Keto Diet Challenges
First of all, dieting.
If you have never subjected yourself to dieting, it can be a real challenge. Changing the way you eat food to strict boundaries places a lot of pressure on you, but don’t worry. Nobody is perfect and you are not defined by your eating habits. Go easy on yourself, dieting is tough!
Any tips you may ask? Be gradual and forgiving of yourself. Don’t forget your mental health when trying to take care of your body. Set aside some time everyday for just you to pursue things that bring you joy.
Your body is having a hard time adjusting to the lack of carbs in your diet. This is why you need to be gradual when beginning ketosis. It requires more time but your body will thank you and you won’t experience the keto flu.
If you have already started the diet and are experiencing some digestion issues, try giving fiber a shot. It’s important to nourish your body with plenty of fiber whether you are dieting or not.
“But wait! A lot of high fiber foods aren’t always keto friendly, like bread!”
That’s true but did you know there are veggies, fruits, grains, and nuts that are high in fiber and low in net carbs? Take a peek.
But we get it, sometimes getting your daily dietary fiber intake [which is recommended to be 20-35 grams of fiber per day] isn’t always easy. If only there was a way to get delicious plant-based fiber that’s sugar-free and low carb…🤔
Well today is your lucky day! Naturlax® specializes in providing plant-based fiber powders in over 80 delicious flavors!
Naturlax® Fiber Powders are derived from psyllium husk and are always naturally flavored! They’re an easy addition to keto baked breads, pancakes, waffles, and even smoothies. We even have our own Keto No-Bake Energy Bites Recipe!
So What Have We Learned Today?
Well, dieting isn’t easy and you should be forgiving of yourself during this time Adhering to a strict diet isn’t for everyone and isn’t easily accomplished.
Diets like the keto diet causes a huge transition in your body which may cause some digestion issues. That’s why fiber can be keto dieter’s best friend! There are tons of foods that are low in net carbs and high in fiber like avocados and chia puddings. But to get some quick fiber, try a sugar-free and low carb fiber supplement like Naturlax®!
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!
“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!
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!
For most people, summer time means beach trips, vacation, and free time (finally!)… but for athletes, it means fitness packets, team training, and tournaments.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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:
We’ve all heard that it’s important to consume a high fiber diet but what does that look like? What are the benefits 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.
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.
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?
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.
A quick 10-minute walk (if done regularly) can lessen some of the pain associated with constipation.
Aerobic exercises like jogging, cycling, or swimming can bring up your heart-rate. This increases blood flow to your digestive tract which helps you go easier.
Yoga has many health benefits, such as helping with stress, anxiety, and depression. All of which can cause constipation. Deep stretches, like aerobic exercise, helps with the strain that comes with constipation.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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