Ever since I can remember, I’ve struggled with occasional digestive flare-ups that cause me to spend extended periods of time in the bathroom. As a self-proclaimed healthy-ish person who cares about most of the food I consume (I whip up a mean lunch salad, I won’t lie), I’ve never been able to pinpoint the specific problem that occasionally disrupts my digestive tract. I try and hit all the food groups, I attend my weekly cycling classes, so why does my stomach decide to fight back every now and then?
With guidance from Maggie Michalczyk, a Chicago-based registered dietitian, I finally realized the missing piece: I haven’t been eating enough fiber. Yep, the key to reducing my one-on-one time with the toilet is actually just being a bit more intentional with what I put into my body.
Turns out, there are different types of fiber—and that’s important. “Soluble fiber binds with the water in the gut and promotes a healthy digestive system,” explains Michalczyk. “Insoluble fiber passes through the digestive system mostly intact, not binding with water, and acting more to speed up the passage of waste in the system.”
To nourish my digestive system with the proper amount and type of fiber—this can range from 25-40 grams a day depending on your age and gender, FYI—Michalczyk recommends loading up on foods rich in soluble fiber, which include nuts, seeds, and certain fruits veggies (insoluble fiber, on the other hand, is prevalent in whole grains). “Vow to add a handful of spinach to a smoothie or snack on apple slices or carrots during the day to increase your fiber intake,” Michalczyk says.
From there, an easy way to stay on top of my fiber situation is to take a soluble fiber supplement like Benefiber Healthy Balance, which is gluten-free and low FODMAP. Just as the name suggests, it works to help balance out my digestive system so that I don’t have to worry about missing a meeting due to being stuck in the bathroom. Plus, Benefiber Healthy Balance dissolves in whatever food or drink I’m eating, so I can carry on with my A-plus desk salad and still get my balanced fiber on.
The last bit of advice Michalczyk left me with? Drink water—and lots of it. Adding water to your diet along with soluble fiber helps to effectively improve your digestive system. If you become dehydrated, you may have issues being able to go. With all this intel, I’m finally ready to set healthy boundaries with my time spent in the bathroom—and hopefully you are, too.
In partnership with Benefiber
Top photo: ZHPH Production/Stocksy
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