You know fiber is good for you and that you’re supposed to eat a certain amount of fiber each day. But do you actively include it in your diet?
Dietary fiber—or roughage—is a type of carbohydrate known as a complex carbohydrate.
In its most basic sense, fiber is plant-based foods that can’t be digested or absorbed by your body. Complex carbohydrates such as cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, pectin, and beta-glucans are more resistant to digestion in the small intestine, so they must instead be fermented by the bacteria in your gut.
They’re also referred to as non-starch polysaccharide (NSP) or structural carbohydrates, and they play an important part in your fiber needs.
There are plenty of fiber-rich, prebiotic foods out there that can help to boost your recommended daily intake. But if you don’t like the taste or texture of these foods, you’re not likely to eat them!
It can also be difficult to source, prepare, and eat exactly the right foods every day to keep your body functioning properly. That’s where fiber supplements come in handy, and that’s why finding the best fiber supplement is important.
A supplement is simple and convenient, and it helps to ensure that you’re getting the right amount of fiber every day without having to plan your menu. Maintaining an adequate fiber intake is one of the best ways to support your microbiome and optimize your gut health.
If you are looking for the best fiber supplement, here are 8 of the best ones you can find on iHerb!
1. Now Foods, Whole Psyllium Husks
Psyllium husk is a type of soluble fiber, one of the two fibers vital for the healthy functioning of your digestive system. If you’re looking for the best fiber supplement, you should definitely consider this one.
Psyllium husk forms a gel as it passes through your small intestine, absorbing water and helping move waste through your gut. It also provides a type of ‘food’ for your gut microbiome when it reaches the large intestine.
One of the great things about psyllium husk is that it can treat both diarrhea and constipation. It absorbs extra fluid in the bowel, slowing overactive bowel movements. It also adds bulk to the stool, which helps trigger peristalsis, reducing constipation.
Psyllium husk is tasteless (and calorie-free), so it can be easily added to smoothies or other (cold) flavored beverages. One serving of psyllium husk is a great way to get almost your entire daily fiber needs in one glass!
2. Jarrow Formulas, Prebiotic Inulin FOS Powder
Inulin is a type of soluble fiber made up of fructose molecules. These chains of fructose can’t be broken down in the small intestine, so they’re fermented by the bacteria in your gut.
This makes inulin a fantastic prebiotic: fuel for your beneficial gut bacteria. These bacteria work to turn inulin into short-chain fatty acids that provide nourishment to your cells, as well as allowing your microbiome to thrive.
Taking Inulin FOS powder is an easy way to add fiber and prebiotic goodness to your daily diet. Please note that some fructooligosaccharides (also known as FOS) can also feed some species of ‘bad’ bacteria or yeasts in the gut, so it may not be suitable for everyone.
3. Heather’s Tummy Care, Organic Acacia Senegal Tummy Fiber
Those who are sensitive to inulin or insoluble fibers and struggle to tolerate FOS or psyllium husks may be better off with Acacia Senegal. This is the best fiber supplement for you if you are sensitive to insoluble fibers.
This gentle plant-based substance is a prebiotic with high soluble fiber content and can help manage digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome. It’s also helpful in managing appetite, reducing gut inflammation, alleviating constipation, relieving diarrhea, and improving satiety—without the potential side-effects of other fiber supplements.
This Tummy Fiber helps to support bowel motility in those with a particularly sensitive gut or suffering from IBS-related diarrhea and constipation. By helping to slow colonic fermentation, this formula may also help reduce gas and bloating.
4. Nature’s Way Glucomannan From Konjac Root, 1,995mg
Konjac root is the starchy part of the konjac plant. It’s an excellent dietary fiber called glucomannan, which is often used as a dietary fiber supplement. Glucomannan is an easily digestible soluble dietary fiber that helps move food through the intestines.
It works by absorbing water in the stomach and the gut, adding bulk to stools, and triggering peristalsis (the wave-like movements that push waste through the intestines). This helps to reduce the incidence of constipation while also minimizing gas and bloating.
Glucomannan also appears to be beneficial for those with sensitive bowel function, and studies have shown it can improve bowel transit time and prevent constipation.
5. Garden of Life, RAW Organic Fiber
If you need both nutrients and fiber, then this might be the best fiber supplement for you. This nourishing blend is an easy way to get a large portion of your daily requirements in one serving.
It contains both soluble and insoluble fiber for maximum benefits, along with organic sprouted seeds, grains, and legumes. This is a good option for those who can’t tolerate heavier fibers such as psyllium.
The beneficial fiber in this supplement help to support the balance of healthy gut flora, as well as keeping your bowel movements regular. It can also help to relieve constipation.
The soluble fiber content triggers the process of fermentation, producing the short-chain fatty acids butyrate, acetate, and propionate. These fatty acids play an important part in many different bodily systems and act as a source of energy for the cells lining your colon.
6. Garden of Life, Super Seed, Beyond Fiber
This vegetarian supplement provides a nutrient-dense source of dietary fiber with 14 sprouted seeds, grains and legumes. Flaxseed and chia seed are excellent sources of soluble fiber, protein, and omega 3 fatty acids.
It also contains a proprietary blend of probiotics that are designed to replenish gut flora and support healthy intestinal balance. Other ingredients including sprouted legumes and seeds also help regulate bowel function and overall health.
High in fiber, just two servings provide nearly half your daily recommended intake plus 24% of your daily recommended protein.
7. Hyperbiotics Prebiotic, Organic Proprietary Blend
This prebiotic fiber supplement is psyllium free, soy-free, and dairy-free. It contains specific fibers that support your healthy bacteria by helping bacteria get established in your intestine and thrive throughout your digestive tract.
As a ‘fertilizer’ to your gut microbiome, this blend helps to promote the maintenance of good bacteria while supporting healthy digestion, weight management, and metabolism. Acacia Fiber slows the fermentation process, which aids digestive health.
This formula also contains a variety of digestive enzymes plus inulin, FOS, resistant starch, and soluble dietary fiber to support the gut and the growth of ‘friendly’ bacteria. This powder can be easily incorporated into a smoothie or other foods.
8. Nutricology ProGreens With Advanced Probiotic Formula
If you struggle to get both vegetables AND fiber into your daily diet, a ready-made blend that contains all of these may be the best fiber supplement for you. ProGreens is a ‘superfood’ formula that contains a host of nutritious fibers, including flaxseed, apple pectin, and fructooligosaccharides (FOS).
It also boasts organic grasses and natural foods rich in the nutrients that aren’t necessarily present in standard vitamin supplements. Along with these greens and mineral-rich sea vegetables, ProGreens provides a healthy dose of adaptogenic herbs and active probiotics, which help soothe the digestive tract and keep the intestines moving properly.
The probiotics are an added bonus to the fiber content, providing support to your gut microbiome and their work in the fermentation process.
Finding the best fiber supplement isn’t easy because it depends on a lot of factors. That’s why we compiled this list of 8 fiber supplements you can find on iHerb.
Just make sure that you’re getting the right one for a healthier and livelier gut.
More Supplements for Your Health
At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.
Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.
One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.
When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.
So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.
Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day
This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.
Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.
When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.
Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity
One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.
Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.
An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.
When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.
Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day
Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.
We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.
By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.
Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment
While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.
I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.
You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.
Con #1: We Move a Lot Less
When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.
Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.
Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.
Con #2: Less Human Interaction
One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.
Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.
Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.
This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.
While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.
Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment
Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.
This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.
For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.
Con #4: Unique Distractions
Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.
For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.
To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.
Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.
We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.