You know all about the health benefits of fiber—but are you getting enough of this important nutrient on your plate each day? Probably not, according to a recent study from the University of Minnesota that reveals most U.S. adults and children are still not getting enough fiber in their daily diets. In fact, while you should be getting at least 35 grams of fiber daily for optimal health, the average American consumes only about 15 grams each day, say researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Here are 3 good reasons to gobble up more high-fiber foods:
- Your Heart. Consuming more high-fiber foods is important for a healthy heart. Studies have shown that an increase in dietary fiber promotes healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels—both of which support overall heart health. In addition, fiber supports healthy blood pressure by slowing down the conversion of carbohydrates during the digestive process to ensure insulin levels rise gradually and blood pressure stays within the normal range.
- Your Tummy. Studies show a healthy balance of soluble and insoluble fiber in the diet supports healthy digestive function and elimination. The combination provides needed bulk to the diet, helping to capture toxins and waste in the intestines and “sweep” them from body via healthy bowel movements. Fiber also helps tone the bowel muscles by creating resistance and promoting peristalsis (the wave-like contractions that move food through your intestines).
- Your Waistline. Did you know fiber plays an important role in helping you achieve and maintain a healthy body weight? Fiber-rich foods promote healthy blood sugar and help you feel full longer after eating, plus fiber stimulates a powerful anti-hunger hormone in the body called cholecystokinin (CCK) to help prevent overeating. Foods high in fiber also help to “flush” unused calories from the body blocking their absorption and eliminating them via the stool. According to experts, it’s possible to flush away up to 7 calories for every gram of fiber you eat!
Consuming more non-starchy vegetables and low-sugar fruits is the best way to increase your daily fiber intake, but if you’re still having a hard time reaching 35 grams a day, add a high-quality fiber supplement with a balanced ratio of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Flaxseed, oat fiber and acacia fiber are great options.
Our four-legged friends tend to be more active during the summer months—when warmer weather and longer days allow for plenty of outdoor play time. But increased exercise and more time outdoors can impact your dog’s health, and just like you, your canine companion can benefit from a little added support. Natural supplements are a safe and effective way to help your dogs cope with problems like dry skin, decreased joint flexibility and mobility, and even sensitive stomachs.
- Keep Hips and Joints Healthy
Just as important as making sure he stays healthy and active is making sure your dog has the right support for his hips and joints. A natural supplement with beneficial ingredients like glucosamine and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), along with whole herbs, herbal extracts and flower essences may help relieve discomfort from normal daily activity. For best results, combine it with a natural Omega-3 EPA and DHA formula to support overall joint, brain and nervous system health.
- Soothe Seasonal Itching
Itching, scratching, licking, shedding—all of these can be brought on by seasonal weather changes. A natural skin and coat supplement can help return a healthy glow to his coat. Look for ingredients to support healthy skin such as brewer’s yeast, inositol, borage oil, chamomile and burdock root, along with beneficial herbs and flower essences.
- Support Healthy Digestion & Weight Management
Because of their relatively short digestive tracts, dogs can benefit from added support to assist with healthy digestion and nutrient absorption. This, in turn, helps promote healthy weight management and overall well-being. Choose a natural supplement that includes probiotics, digestive enzymes and fiber to support intestinal health (including the relief of occasional gas) as well as bowel and anal gland health.
- Assist with Natural Detoxification
The backyard may seem like a playground to your dog, but we humans know all too well about the chemicals and environmental pollutants lurking in every lawn, park and play area that can take a serious toll on his health. Look for a gentle daily formula that supports normal detoxification and healthy liver function to help pets enjoy the vibrant health and vitality they deserve. It may contain ingredients such as milk thistle, dragon’s blood and green tea, along with cleansing herbs and flower essences.
Our dogs are part of the family, and they count on us to protect them and keep them healthy during the summer months and all year long. Natural herbal supplements are a great way to do just that.