An oft-overlooked part of our diet — fiber — is vital to our nutrition, being filled with essential nutrients. It is useful to various bodily systems, such as our digestive tract, to function efficiently and help absorb all the vitamins, minerals, and other necessary components from our food. If you’re not consuming enough of fiber, then your body might suffer consequences linked to nutrient deficiency. In this article, we cover the seven warning signs of low fiber and how you can fix it.
Feeling constipated or bloated after meals
Having bowel movements either three times a day or three times a week is considered the norm. If you're experiencing such less than thrice a week, and your stool seems hard and dry, it’s a sign that you’re constipated.While constipation can be caused by a wide variety of reasons, it’s most often due to lack of fiber – the nutrient which helps your stool absorb more water and pass smoothly through your digestive system. Without it, you may feel “blocked up.”Further, you may also be bloated after meals if you are fiber deficient, maybe because your body retains too much water and is not able to pass it on through your bowel movements.
You have hemorrhoids
As a consequence of difficult bowel movements (which is likely when you’re constipated), you might also develop hemorrhoids. These are swollen, displaced veins located around your rectum and anus. Hemorrhoids tend to cause some pain, discomfort, and slight bleeding when you are experiencing bowel movements. Increasing your fiber intake can help soften your stool and pass quicker through the digestive tract, with less strain on the veins.
Constant feelings of hunger
You just ate a full meal, yet you become hungry just an hour later — it may be a sign of low fiber levels in your diet. Without fiber, your stomach empties itself much faster, which may trigger feelings of hunger.Fiber is a dense nutrient which takes a while for your stomach to break down. Additionally, it absorbs lots of water, contributing to its weight. So when you’re eating enough fiber, you’re likely to feel full for much longer after meals. This effect can also help you eat more efficiently and manage your weight.
Blood sugar fluctuations
Ever feel full of energy right after a meal, only to feel sleepy when the afternoon comes? This can be linked to your diet. Another function of fiber in our body is that it is used to balance our blood sugar levels. Because fiber is dense, fiber-rich meals are digested more slowly. A side-effect is other nutrients, like glucose, are also processed slower, preventing fluctuations in our blood sugar levels. Sugar rushes and crashes are avoided, which is good for maintaining your overall health and energy levels throughout the day.
High cholesterol levels
Fiber, specifically soluble fiber, is known to support your digestive system’s ability to absorb cholesterol. With good amounts of soluble fiber, you should be able to sustain a healthy cholesterol level. Over twenty studies have shown that for every 7 grams of soluble fiber taken, your risk of clogged arteries, high blood pressure, and heart disease drop by up to 9%. So, if you’re struggling with high cholesterol levels, you may need to increase the soluble fiber in your diet.
Chronic fatigue or low energy
Sometimes, people find it hard to get up for work or to get moving for their morning workout. It could be a sign of a lacking diet — particularly low levels of fiber.Adding fiber to your diet cab help stabilize your blood sugar levels, providing your body with balanced energy levels all day long. If you’re feeling an afternoon slump, we suggest snacking on high-fiber foods or taking a fiber pill to start your day right.
If you’re experiencing common symptoms of inflammation, this could point to several diet problems — lack of water, for example. But, one likely cause is that you’re low on fiber. Fiber is used by our body to nourish gut microbiomes, serving as fuel for the “good” bacteria and other microbes. This is needed to maintain a good balance of bacteria. Most of our immune system cells is in our gut, so unbalanced microbiomes can trigger our immune system to inflame the internal organs. Consequently, chronic inflammation could lead to more serious problems, namely diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. It’s ideal to eat enough fiber to support your gut health.
How much fiber do you need per day?
The daily value for fiber is 28 grams per day or about 14 grams per 1000 calories. For optimal health, you should try to meet this target consistently. Still, always consult your doctor on drastic changes to your diet — you may be prone to complications or disease.Plenty of foods are good sources of fiber – nuts, brown rice, lentils, oatmeal, beans, fruits, carrots, tomatoes, and berries among others. You don’t have to just rely on foods — Puritan’s Pride offers high-quality supplements full of soluble and insoluble fiber to help you meet all your dietary needs. Take Fiber Diet or Psyllium for a healthy diet.
The signs of low fiber can lead to significant discomfort and more debilitating conditions if not prevented. Avoid deficiency, fill up your essential fiber by adjusting your diets and taking premium fiber-rich supplements.