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Is Balance of Nature the Best Fiber Supplement for Constipation?
Jun 19, 2020
Fiber. It’s a fascinating thing. Most people associate it with relieving constipation and helping you poop better. But fiber is so much more than a supplement for pooping.
Yes, taking fiber will certainly help you poop. There’s no question about that. But did you know that fiber benefits your overall health and not just your bowels? There’s even research suggesting that higher fiber intake will help you live longer.
So what is it? Where does it come from? Why is it important? And how can you get it? All good questions…thanks for asking.
What is fiber?
Fiber is actually a carbohydrate. But don’t fear paleo friends, it’s not like other carbohydrates that can be broken down by your body into sugars and used for energy. It actually passes mostly intact right through you. Fiber is not digestible in humans, but it does aid in digestion.
Because fiber helps move things through your system, it is one of the most important foods to have in your diet. Most people think that fiber will just take them from constipation straight to diarrhea. But because there are multiple types of fiber, it can actually help with both constipation and diarrhea!
There are two types of fiber--soluble and insoluble. The easiest way to think about them is that soluble fiber makes for softer stools while insoluble fiber is what keeps you feeling regular. So soluble affects the quality of your poop while insoluble affects the quantity. Because these two types of fiber function differently, they are both important.
Soluble fiber actually absorbs water and turns into more of a gel consistency. This slows the digestion process which can help with things like weight loss and heart disease.
Insoluble fiber on the other hand repels water, it stays a grainy texture the whole way through your system. This texture helps to clean your intestines and colon while keeping things running smoothly.
Am I getting enough fiber?
Probably not. The average American is getting less than half the daily recommended amount. It is actually listed as a “nutrient of concern.” Everyone needs fiber--women, men, and even children.
If you’re not getting enough fiber, you’ll probably know. There are many signs that can point to a lack of fiber in your diet, the most common is constipation and bloating.
There are plenty of natural ways to increase your daily fiber intake. Foods rich in fiber include fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, seeds and nuts. Basically all the healthy plant foods you can think of, here are some common foods high in fiber:
- Fruits and vegetables-- Apples, bananas, strawberries, raspberries, mango persimmon, guava and more
- Legumes-- Navy, white, garbanzo, kidney, lima and pinto beans. Peas, soybeans and lentils
- Bread and grains-- Some cereals, whole-grain breads, bulgar wheat, brown rice, wild rice, popcorn and barley
- Nuts and seeds-- Chia seeds, almonds, pistachios, sunflower and pumpkin seeds
Animal-based foods like meat do not contain fiber. Fiber can only be found in plant foods. In order to increase your fiber, you need to eat more plants and plant-based foods. And it’s well worth your time.
If you are thinking about adding more fiber to your diet, you are going to want to start low and slow. Everyone’s bodies will react differently to an increase in fiber, especially if you weren’t getting very much before. You will know when it’s time to back off if you’re getting too much fiber.
Studies have shown numerous health benefits to eating fiber: Lower blood pressure, weight loss, heart health and many other positive side effects have been reported.
Of course, we’re all about helping people poop better, but if something can do that andgive you a crapload of other benefits, then naturally we’re on board.
So what about fiber supplements?
There are lots of fiber supplements out there ranging from powders and pills to gummies and tablets. That’s quite a bit to sort through, so we did some research for you. One of the biggest things that makes a difference with fiber supplements is the quality. Some sources of fiber are natural from whole foods, while others are synthetic.
Metamucil is probably the most common fiber supplement that people choose to take. What people don’t realize is that most Metamucil products contain a lot of sugar and sugar can lead to constipation .
Another brand, FiberCon, is a capsule insoluble fiber supplement. Capsules are not as effective as powder supplements as they take longer for your body to break down. FiberCon also consists of calcium polycarbophil which comes from a synthetic source and can lead to side effects like abdominal discomfort, bloating, and flatulence.
One gummy type of fiber supplement, Fiber Choice, contains inulin (a prebiotic, soluble fiber). While inulin causes good changes to your colon’s bacterial population, the fact that it’s in a gummy discourages us.
In order to maintain the gummy form, ingredients are added and they’re not necessarily the best. Fiber Choice adds colors and flavoring to get its three fruity bites variations.
Gummy forms also lack the same amounts of nutrients as other vitamin forms. Gummies are harder to succeed in making and are more likely to lose potency over time too.
Citrucel is another popular fiber supplement out there. It contains methylcellulose which is soluble fiber but, like all the others, its main active ingredient is synthetically made. Citrucel also claims to be a laxative product and shouldn’t be used longer than one week.
Balance of Nature and their Fiber & Spice product. There are several reasons for this.
First, we believe the best fiber supplements come in powder form. The amount of quality fiber you can get from one scoop of powder is quite a bit more than a handful of gummies.
Second, Balance of Nature contains non synthetic, whole food ingredients like whole psyllium husk. They import it from India because it is so hard to find in its whole form.
Psyllium has been shown to help relieve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), something we know a little about, so it’s the form of fiber we most recommend.
But that’s not where Balance of Nature stops. Their fiber is also derived from flax seeds and whole apples. That’s right-- apples.
Everyone knows fruits like apples contain a lot of fiber. The issue is that fruits are high in sugar as well, so eating a ton of fruit in order to get fiber isn’t all that practical.
However, Balance of Nature uses a freeze-drying process to remove all the water from the apples and grinds what’s left into a powder that’s used for their Fiber & Spice. That’s a great fiber source.
Their video talks about this process in regards to their fruit and veggie capsules, but it’s the same for the apples used in their fiber.
Third, this product isn’t meant to act as a laxative. It is meant to regulate your bowels. It can be used for either constipation or diarrhea. You can take it everyday to help maintain digestion if you so choose.
But what’s our favorite part of Balance of Nature Fiber & Spice? It’s got to be the taste. We don’t recommend taking it with just water, although you could and it’s surprisingly not all that bad like you may have come to expect from other fiber supplements.
Because they include a dozen spices, the taste is pretty unique. Those spices are allspice, cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, cumin, fennel seed, fenugreek, ginger root, mustard, nutmeg and turmeric.
The apple fiber makes apple juice a great choice for mixing the fiber. It’s a nice cidery taste. Some people even like it in oatmeal or cereal. But our favorite has got to be almond milk. It creates a great texture, great flavor and we promise you’ll enjoy it. The taste is something similar to a chai flavor.
Fiber is good for you and you need more of it. The best way to get more fiber is through a daily fiber supplement. And the best daily fiber supplement is made by Balance of Nature.