Fiber is the indigestible portion of the plant foods in our diet. It doesn’t break down for nutrients and it doesn’t burn to produce energy, but it is still important. There are two types that we need: soluble and insoluble
The soluble I call sponges. They soak up toxins and other noxious stuff to get it through the digestive tract and out of the body. They include prebiotics that feed the friendly fiber that aids digestion, beta-glucans that help lower cholesterol, and other mucilage that helps move the bowels. Foods rich in soluble fiber include nuts, many fruits and vegetables, root veggies like sweet potatoes, beans, peas, and whole grains.
The insoluble I call brooms – they sweet and clean the digestive and intestinal tracts. They provide absolutely no nutritive value, but “sweep” these tracts and they pass through. Foods rich in insoluble fiber are similar to those rich in soluble fiber but include the peelings of many of these fruits and vegetables.
Because of their cleansing effects on the digestive and intestinal tracts, there are many benefits of adequate fiber. Reducing cholesterol and triglycerides helps to promote cardiovascular health. Diseases like diabetes and obesity are helped because the fiber-rich foods slow the absorption of sugars in the blood to help correct the underlying causes of these diseases. They obviously help prevent constipation and keeping the colon cleanse aids in the prevention of colon cancers and helps promote overall colon health.
So how much fiber do you need? One source I found quoted: “The Institute of Medicine recommends that men under 50 should get about 38 grams of fiber daily and at least 30 grams if they are over 50. The recommendation for women is slightly lower: 25 grams under 50 and 21 grams over 50. Children, of course, needless. Unfortunately, the average American (both adults and children) consumes about half the grams of fiber they need.”
Adding fiber is both important and easy if you pay attention. Make it a priority and enjoy better health.
– For more information, contact Naturopathic Doctor Randy Lee, owner of The Health Patch at 1024 S. Douglas Blvd, Midwest City, at 405-736-1030 or e-mail pawpaw@TheHealthPatch.com or visit TheHeathPatch.com.