November 21, 2023
Last Updated:
November 30, 2023

Gearing Up for the Holidays? Top Tips and Supplements to Keep Your Digestive Tract in Check

IIN’s partner, Nature's Sunshine, are the pioneers of encapsulated herbs, and for the last 50+ years they have been working to create the world’s most effective natural health supplements using industry-leading science and innovation. 

Fiber is a crucial part of a balanced diet. You’ve probably heard that you need more fiber in your diet, but you might be wondering why. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, “More than 90 percent of women and 97 percent of men do not meet recommended intakes for dietary fiber.” 

Along with aiding digestion, fiber plays a role in the health of your gut microbiome, which can influence your overall health. Fiber can be found in a variety of foods, some of which you may already eat, and many of which are easy and inexpensive to incorporate into your daily diet. Making little changes to your diet goes a long way toward building a healthy lifestyle.

What is Fiber? 

Fiber is a naturally occurring compound found in plants. However, it’s also extracted and made into consumables. It’s classified as a type of carbohydrate – one our bodies cannot digest. Since it’s indigestible, it is calorie-free.

Two types of fiber are found in foods, and each has a different function:   

  • Soluble fiber: Soluble fiber absorbs water to form a gel-like substance that helps move food along the digestive tract more slowly. Since the food moves slower, more nutrients can be absorbed in the colon. Soluble fiber also helps you feel full, lowers your cholesterol, and maintains healthy blood sugar levels. Beans are a great source of soluble fiber.
  • Insoluble Fiber: Insoluble fiber doesn’t absorb water, and it bulks stool to help waste pass more easily and efficiently. Whole-wheat flour is a great source of insoluble fiber.  

How Does Fiber Support Digestion?

One of the most important roles that fiber plays is in the gut since it provides food for the billions of microbes found there. The stomach lining is made of mucus, and when we lack fiber, microbes start feeding on the mucus. This damages the lining of the stomach, leading to a multitude of problems such as indigestion, feeling sick, and discomfort when eating. Make sure to limit alcohol intake and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) consumption, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, as excessive use can cause damage to the stomach lining. In short, don’t let your microbes starve.

As mentioned earlier, soluble and insoluble fiber work to help move things along the digestive tract. Soluble fiber soaks up water to make a gel that delivers good bacteria and nutrients to your gut. One type of soluble fiber is found in psyllium. Psyllium promotes bowel movement and can help stabilize blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Insoluble fiber, as the name suggests, does not absorb or dissolve in water. Instead, it creates bulk, which makes stool easier to pass. If your stool is watery or loose, it could be a sign that you may need more insoluble fiber in your diet. This type of fiber also helps prevent constipation.

What Are the Benefits of Fiber? 

There are several benefits of fiber, but three major ones include:  

  1. Eases constipation: Eat plenty of foods with fiber for constipation relief, and drink plenty of water. Remember, soluble fiber needs water to work its magic.  
  2. Lowers cholesterol: During digestion, fiber latches onto fats and cholesterols in the small intestines. This makes sure it’s not absorbed into the bloodstream.   
  3. Balances blood sugar levels: Since fiber is an indigestible carb, it doesn’t break down into sugars that are released into the bloodstream after digestion. 

How Much Fiber Does My Body Need? 

Everyone’s body is different (think bio-individuality!), so it’s important to listen to what your body is telling you. Look for signs of nutrient deficiencies and clues that your body isn’t getting the nutrition it needs to thrive. If you’re constipated, hungry after meals, have a hard time losing weight, or your blood sugar fluctuates, these might be signs that you have a fiber deficiency.

It’s recommended that men get 38 grams of fiber per day. Women should aim for 25 grams per day and around 31-34 grams if breastfeeding.

For kids, a range of 14-31 grams per day should be the goal. As children get older, the daily goal of fiber increases.

How Do I Incorporate Fiber Into My Diet? 

Starting your day with a cup of water and a high-protein, high-fiber meal is a great place to start. Incorporating fiber with small snacks in between meals is also a great way to get your daily dosage. If your body isn’t used to getting the proper amount of fiber, don’t overload at first. It’s best to introduce fiber little by little throughout the day, since it allows the bacteria in your gut to adjust properly. Too much fiber in one sitting can lead to bloating, gas, and cramping.  And too much fiber without enough water can have similar outcomes. It’s best to keep a water bottle with room-temperature water with you everywhere.

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The good news is that fiber is easy to sneak into every meal, and many tasty foods are high in fiber. Here’s a breakdown of foods you should add to your shopping list before your next trip to the store!

Soluble Fiber: 

Fruits high in fiber include:  

  • Apples  
  • Raspberries  
  • Strawberries  
  • Pears  
  • Nectarines  
  • Avocados  
  • Apricots 

Vegetables high in fiber include:  

  • Broccoli  
  • Turnips  
  • Artichokes 

Other foods high in fiber include:  

  • Whole-grain oats  
  • Nuts  
  • Seeds  
  • Beans  
  • Popcorn 

Insoluble Fiber: 

  • Carrots  
  • Celery  
  • Tomatoes  
  • Cucumbers  
  • Spinach  
  • Whole-grain bread  
  • Barley  
  • Couscous  
  • Brown Rice  

Can I Take Fiber Supplements Instead? 

Yes, you can still take fiber supplements if you don’t think you’re getting enough fiber each day. But remember that it’s always important to assess your body’s needs when it comes to supplements.  

If you’re looking for pure, potent, and clean formulas, Nature’s Sunshine offers a handful of fiber and detox products. Designed to encourage bowel regularity and detox, you can have peace of mind knowing that you’ll feel a difference.

  • Psyllium Hulls provides soluble fiber to help bowel movements and your intestinal system. This non-GMO-certified psyllium comes from northwest India, where environmental conditions are ideal for this crop to flourish.  
  • Everybody’s Fiber is just as the name suggests. Everybody could use two more grams of fiber in their daily diet. This blend also features prebiotics, which help good bacteria in your gut grow, providing support for digestive problems. 
  • Lower Bowel Stimulator encourages natural elimination and regularity. Cascara sagrada bark influences the peristaltic muscles of bowel tissue and encourages the normal flow of bile and secretions of the stomach, pancreas, and liver. Buckthorn bark is a powerful herb celebrated for its ability to loosen the bowels’ contents. Licorice root gently supports general digestion. Ginger root supports digestion and helps soothe the entire digestive tract. And turkey rhubarb is one of the most widely-used Chinese herbs to support healthy intestinal function.  
  • Gentle Move is as natural as going to the bathroom. It works in three different ways to help move things along. Gentle Move acts as a very mild laxative by attracting water to the colon to soften stool. Magnesium is a critical nutrient for overall health. Triphala is a balancing herbal blend that promotes longevity and rejuvenation. Touted for its support of the gastrointestinal tract, this combination of herbs has been applied to many traditional uses. 

How Can Detoxification Further Support My Body? 

We’re exposed to toxins every day — they’re hidden in our food, water, fragrances, cleaning products, and air. When there’s a buildup of toxins in the body, it can lead to poor gut health, which affects our digestive, immune, and endocrine systems.  Along with having enough fiber intake to support a healthy gut, detoxification helps keep your pathways clear.

If you’re looking for the next steps on how to detox, you’ll find a variety of options at Nature’s Sunshine that will help your body rid itself of harmful substances. 

  • CleanStart is a great way to jump-start your system. For 14 days, a combination of fibers, chlorophyllin, and aloe vera will help your body release toxins and everyday waste. This also helps maintain energy levels that will leave you feeling great. If you’re not ready to dive into a full cleanse, then you can check out CleanStart Mild for a gentler cleanse.   
  • After completing the CleanStart cleanse, you can integrate Detox Basics for daily detoxification. You’ll find support for a healthy liver, intestinal function, gut health, and toxin elimination. The circulatory, glandular, and immune systems also benefit. The nutrients found in each packet provide your body with the nutrients it needs to help neutralize, prepare, and convert toxins for transport and elimination daily.   
  • To decrease the buildup of toxins, UltraBiome DTX makes a healthy, thriving life more realistic.  The unique blend of fibers, fruits, and vegetables in UltraBiome DTX primes detox pathways, targeting and eliminating toxins (especially heavy metals). It also helps healthy bacteria thrive and supports a healthy gut lining. 

Where Do I Go From Here? 

The best thing you can do for your body is to simply listen. You spend all day, every day telling your body what to do, digest, learn, and process. Take at least five minutes each day to listen to your body’s needs. Here are some tips to get you started: 

  • Start with realistic changes you know you can make in your life. 
  • If you know that working out every day isn’t feasible, find balance in other areas.  
  • If there are things that you know your body doesn’t respond to well, keep them out of the house. 
  • Plan and prep your meals to avoid eating out and overeating. 

And don’t forget that as part of the IIN community, you can now get 50% off any Nature’s Sunshine product (including the fiber supplements listed in this article!) by signing up to become a brand ambassador. As soon as you join, you’ll receive access to exclusive discounts and products, business tools, a library of product resources, and the ability to receive 40-50% commission for anyone you refer to Nature’s Sunshine, too! Apply for free today*, just like hundreds of IIN Health Coaches have before you! 

*You must operate your health practice in the United States. Nature’s Sunshine currently doesn’t ship outside of the United States. IIN receives affiliate commission for purchases of Nature's Sunshine supplements through this blog post. Always check with your healthcare provider before beginning any supplementation.

Author Biography
Alexa Paolella
IIN Content Writer

Alexa holds a bachelor’s in communication studies from Boston University and is a graduate of IIN’s Health Coach Training Program. After losing her father to brain cancer in 2018, Alexa left the fashion industry to pursue a more fulfilling and empowering career in health and wellness.

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