The importance of fiber in your daily diet
Mar 26, 2012, 8 a.m.
It's amazing, but true, that the only problem with fiber in your daily diet occurs if you do not get enough of it. A high fiber diet has many functions to perform within the human body, including, but not limited to, helping to keep your digestive processes functioning normally.
We all have seen ads directed at seniors that tout the benefits of a high fiber diet and certain fiber-containing supplements to enhance regular bowel movements. Some view that as an added bonus to the overall importance of fiber in your daily diet. Fiber, the indigestible portion of carbohydrates, has many beneficial qualities that you can use for improving your overall health.
What can fiber do for me?
- Help lower blood cholesterol levels
- Help lower glucose levels
- Increase stool bulk
- Help with weight loss
Fiber can accomplish many things, and some researchers believe it can also help reduce certain types of cancers, fight diverticulosis and even reduce breast cancer. Not only does the bulkiness of fiber in the digestive system help move things along and clean the colon, certain properties act to prevent some harmful estrogen hormones from entering the blood stream.
What foods contain fiber?
- Legumes (beans, peas)
- Nuts, seeds
- Grains, especially whole-grain products
It is easy to enhance the daily diet by incorporating high-fiber foods, grains and whole-grain flours into normal recipes. Try to eat fruits and vegetables daily, use nuts and popcorn for your snack foods, and switch away from white flour and breads to whole-grain products.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water and becomes gel-like in the digestive track. As this, it works to move through the digestive track, and it binds to harmful estrogen to prevent it from entering the body. Soluble fiber adds bulk to the system and helps to keep your digestion regular.
Some people complain that too much fiber can cause bloating and gas. If you take some time to gradually increase your fiber intake, this should not become a problem. Always consult your doctor before making big changes to your diet; doctors are most up-to-date and familiar with your individual nutritional requirements.
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