More and more people today are understanding the importance of gut health, adding more fiber to their diets, regularly taking prebiotics and probiotics, and modifying their diets to best serve their bodies. Today, let’s talk about fiber and its importance beyond gut health.
What is Fiber?
There are two kinds of fiber, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber is what is sought after by many because of its primary function in the digestive process. It turns water into a gel substance during digestion which causes the digestive process to slow down. A slower digestive process in your body means that you are absorbing sugar at a slower rate, maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. It will also help with healthy bowel movements, reduce constipation, and maintain healthy gut bacteria. Soluble fiber is believed to make you feel ‘fuller’ so you eat less, giving you the added bonus of maintaining a healthy weight as well. A popular soluble fiber that many people look for in their foods is beta glucan. They are looking for this ingredient because it works its way through the digestive system picking up cholesterol on its way out of your system, supporting healthy cholesterol levels and maintaining a healthy gut microbiome. Added bonus(!), lower cholesterol levels can put you in a good place to avoid cardiovascular issues later in life.
Blood Sugar Levels, Low Cholesterol, Digestive Concerns. I’m Young I Shouldn’t Have to Worry About That Now…
On the contrary, the path to good health can be a long one, but the path to bad health can be even longer in some instances. It is now recommended to start caring about your cholesterol and blood sugar levels as early as in your twenties or thirties. The rate at which bad cholesterol (LDL) can build up in your system is so slow that if you wait to start looking at your cholesterol levels it could be much harder to combat than if you started caring a little bit sooner. A healthy gut at a young age allows you to have a stronger immune system as you age. It’s something to start considering as early as when your children become toddlers.
Beta Glucan is a Popular Soluble Fiber Today
Beta glucan is a functional ingredient that can enrich many diet and supplementation programs. The issue is that when added to foods or drinks, it can change the taste or texture making it unappealing to consumers despite its health benefits. Additionally, beta glucan can get lost in food processing and freezing, losing some of its vast benefits. Naturally, you will find beta glucan in certain types of mushrooms, grains, and yeast, but for many people these things are not a regular part of their diet.
So What Should I Do?
This is where supplementation comes in. If you are not regularly eating a whole food diet, using supplements to fill in the gaps can be very helpful on your journey to health. The problem many face however, is picking a supplement. The process of finding the right one can be so exhausting you give up or settle for less than you deserve.
No fear, here are three things you need to look for to feel confident in your decision of choosing a beta glucan supplement:
Ensure that it is both beta glucan 1,3 and 1,6.
Put simply having both 1,3 and 1,6 in the supplement provides benefits similar to eating mushrooms, grains and yeast on a regular basis. While all of these foods contain beta glucan, they each have their own benefits from maintaining healthy cholesterol (discussed today) to supporting the immune system. If you are going to take a supplement, make it worth your while
Trust the manufacturing process and the company that is providing the product to you.
cGMP manufactures will follow strict FDA Guidelines when manufacturing supplements. You can also take a look at the companies website to learn more about their quality processes.
Understand the purity
Beta glucan supplements come in many different forms and price ranges. This is primarily due to the purity of the supplement. The less pure, the less it will benefit you. Look for a beta glucan supplement that exceeds 60% purity. You can find this information by looking on the company’s website, or sometimes the product label.