Unfortunately, we have all suffered from constipation at some point in our lives and we wonder, does fiber help with constipation in 2018 or make it worse? Well, fiber will help with constipation. Fiber helps keep the digestive system on track and chances are we all need more of it in our diets.
Fiber will actually work as a bowel regulator. It can be effective for both constipation and diarrhea. This is according to gastroenterologist Daved Golstein.
Fiber and Constipation
When a person is constipated the body will make stool that is dry as well as hard. When you are constipated you will be straining to have a bowel movement and it is uncomfortable. It can even put pressure on your body that can lead to hemorrhoids, hernias, and even varicose veins.
Fiber will help pull water from the colon. This will make stool softer and easier to pass. So, if you are finding yourself constipated often, eat a diet high in fiber.
Fiber and Diarrhea
While there is one extreme there is another. The other extreme is diarrhea. This is when your stool is loose because there is too much water in the colon. Fiber can also help your system with this as well.
Soluble fiber will actually absorb excess fluid that is found in the bowel and make it a firmer stool. This is sometimes called the sponge effect.
How Much Fiber Do I Need?
Well, the average American will eat about fifteen grams of fiber a day. However, they should be consuming much more. Women should aim for about 25 grams and men should aim for about 38 grams.
However, you shouldn’t add all the fiber at once as it could cause bloating and even cramps. You are going to want to introduce it to your diet slowly. This should be done over two or three weeks. You should also make sure you are drinking plenty of water. You should start by adding just seven grams of fiber to your daily diet. Continue increasing it each week by seven until you are at the goal.
Types of Fiber
There are two types of fiber that are known as soluble and insoluble. The type of fiber you should be eating depends what is going on with you.
Soluble fiber helps diarrhea by absorbing the excess water and adding bulk to stools. Whereas, insoluble fiber, which is not digestible, may help with constipation but make diarrhea worse.
How do we know which is which? Soluble fibers are located on the insides of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. What about the skins or outsides? This is going to be your insoluble fiber also known as roughage.
It has been proven that soluble fiber also helps lower cholesterol and control blood sugars. Below is a list of foods that include soluble fibers. Below that, is a list that includes insoluble fiber.
- other legumes
- Sweet potatoes
- The skins of fruit
- The skins of beans
- Potato skin
- Whole wheat
- wheat bran
- whole-grain cereal products
- Brown rice