Monday, August 9, 2010

Let's Talk about Fiber, Baby

Fiber has got to be one of my most favorite diet and health topics. No, it's not just about the Metamucil crackers or prune juice and it's not just for grandmas.  Fiber is essential to your wellbeing from age 0 to 100.  Important fact, it can only be found in plant foods - that means fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, legumes, and whole grains. Nature's goodness. :)

Fiber has become all the rage lately. Food producers are adding it or amping up the amount of fiber in everything from orange juice to cereals to yogurt. New studies constantly show the link of fiber to overall good health, low LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, diabetes prevention, and lower risk of colorectal cancer. It's probably the most essential component to our digestive health and the most lacking component from the Standard American Diet (SAD indeed).
Fiber is the key to proper waste elimination. Lack of or too much fiber can lead to many problems. There are two kinds of fiber. Soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber adds water to our stool and allows our waste to move steadily through the colon.  Insoluble fiber adds bulk to our stool and allows it to pass quickly fro stomach to small intestine. It is very important for us to get a balance of both kinds of fiber. Each has its own role to play in our digestive system and complement one another.
The American Dietetics Association recommends that adults consume 25 to 30 grams of fiber each day. On the standard American diet of white bread and pasta, meat, potatoes, pizza, chicken nuggets, soda and coffee, we are not getting anywhere near that amount. That is why we have so many incidents of diseases and disorders in our digestive system including stomach and colorectal cancers, colitis, Crohn's, and irritable bowel syndrome. Even illnesses that seem unrelated to our digestive health can be linked to it. These include eczema, acne, diabetes, and depression.
It is extremely important that we get enough fiber in our diets and from good sources too! Check in tomorrow to find out the best sources of fiber!

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