Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Are you getting enough fiber?

Fiber is an indigestible part of all plant foods (it is used by plants to build their cell walls). It's found in fruits, vegetables, grains and beans. Your digestive system cannot stomach fiber, so it is excreted undigested.

Well, you may think you don’t need fiber, because it’s excreted undigested, but that’s not true.

Let's imagine the following picture:

You overeat at least once or twice a week, more often at weekends, and your regular menu doesn't include much fiber. Well, this might be your life style; however you should consider that it may cause you lots of health problems like:

digestive troubles
high cholesterol
heart disease
colon cancer
What happens when you constantly overeat? You start feeling:

discomfort stomach aches
gases in the digestive tract
you got tired faster
can't concentrate on what you're doing

I mean you become less productive at work and more irritable at home. Besides all this, you gain weight and that’s the moment when you realize you have a problem.

You start visiting doctors and diet experts, who recommend you expensive medication, like pills and other kind of drugs, which are effective only while you are taking them; or they will make you start a diet plan and may recommend you some fitness procedures to lose weight.

Well, I’m not saying that none of these procedures will work for you. Of course some of them will work; it depends strictly on the individual. But there is always an easier, healthier and cheaper way to solve such problems.

In order to solve a problem, you should first find the reason for it. In this case it’s the lowered intake of fiber-rich foods and respectively – the higher intake of foods that contain no fiber (like meat or any other animal products). The average amount of fiber intake is about 25-30 grams per day. Unfortunately most people regular diets include less than 10-15 grams daily.

You should start consuming more of these fiber-rich foods like:

all bran cereal
beans (kidney and butter)
sweet corn
wholemeal brown bread
red cabbage
baked potato with skin
oranges and many others

I can’t list them all, but I can advise you to eat more beans, grains, fruits and vegetables, and I think that’s enough for you to get the picture.

There are two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble. If you start eating more food rich in both types of fiber, you’ll be amazed of its beneficial effects over your digestive system, your body, your health and way of life.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water in the intestinal tract, it forms glue like gel, which softens stools (no more constipation) and slows down stomach emptying, which means better digestion (no more indigestion).

You feel fuller longer – that’s the effect that helps you eat less food, which is rich in fiber, and your digestive tract uses more energy to digest it. This way your body burns additional calories and you can lose weight. Of course it takes some time to reach your desired weight, but you won’t be starving, and yet you’ll be losing weight – isn’t it great?

Insoluble fiber acts in the gastrointestinal tract. It’s an excellent natural laxative, because of its abilities to hold onto water and to push waste faster along the intestines (leaving less time for cancerous substances in your stool to have contact with the lining of the bowel) – this way fiber decreases the risk of colon cancer and also helps prevent hemorrhoids by adding bulk and softening stools.

Soluble fiber is also known to help lowering cholesterol and the amount of insulin needed to process the blood sugar after eating.



(Above content taken from weight loss

A great cereal with dietary fiber is Optimum Blueberry Cinnamon Power and Optimum Slim by Nature's Path. It's an organic cereal you can find at whole foods or any organic stores which is tasty and high in fiber 7-9 gms per serving and protein 9 gms per serving. It's on sale at whole foods this week so give it a try! Eat it with skim, lowfat almond or soy milk for great taste!

For more info on fighting heart disease with fiber, please go to below link:

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