How Fiber is Crucial for Inner Well-Being

fiber is crucial

fiber is crucial

Oh! So important, once known as roughage is the edible but in-digestible cell wall of plants. Dietary fiber is found only in plant-based foods. It resists acids in the stomach and other digestive enzymes in the gut, and it travels to the large bowel intact. There are two kinds of dietary fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber as found in oat bran and oatmeal, dissolves in water and is readily fermented by bacteria in the large bowel. Other examples of foods that contain soluble fiber are ground flax seeds, beans, and the pulp (insides) of fruit such as apples.

Insoluble fiber, such as the one found in wheat bran, does not dissolve in water and is not easily fermented by the colonic bacteria. Other examples of insoluble fiber include apple, and in most garden vegetable such as celery, broccoli, collard and turnip greens, carrots, green beans, and squash.

Artificial forms of fiber have been developed as food additives. However, these don’t contain the important “micro-nutrients” that are contained in the fiber from natural sources of dietary fiber such as whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables. The fermentation of fiber in the large intestine produces gas and increases the bulk of stool. The fiber also traps bile and fat and they stimulate bowel movements. The rough edges of fibrous foods may stimulate nerve endings in the gut that cause the bowel to move.

Several other effects of dietary fiber are important to everyone who has type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Over the past 30 years, research has shown that dietary fiber may reduce cholesterol, and blood glucose, and may lower the risk of heart disease and certain forms of cancer.

In 1999, the FDA allowed the following health claim to be made for foods that are high in dietary fiber: “Diets high in plant foods-i.e. fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grain cereals-are associated with a lower occurrence of coronary heart disease and cancers of the lung, colon, esophagus, and stomach.”

Any serving of food that contains four or more grams of dietary fiber is considered to be a good source of fiber. The Institute of Medicine recommends the total amount of fiber to protect against heart disease for the following age groups:

Young adult Males                    38 grams per day

Young adult females                  25 grams per day

Males over 50                          30 gram per day

Females over 50                       21 grams per day

The science supports the ancient nursery rhyme: “beans, beans, good for the heart,” Be vigilant and “regularly” include fiber at every meal.

As you increase your fiber intake you must increase your water intake to prevent constipation.

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