Better Health from Within
Getting daily amounts of fiber is one of the most important ways to maintain good health. Fiber provides the bulk necessary to move food through your digestive system at the proper speed. A meal with an adequate fiber content allows digestion to occur more efficiently and stimulates your entire digestive system to work properly. Most people do not regularly consume enough dietary fiber. This leaves them vulnerable to conditions such as excess weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, irritable bowel disease and cancer.
The Fiber Health Connection
If processed foods make up a large percentage of your diet then getting enough fiber can
be a real problem. Processed grains and fruits have little fiber content because it is actually stripped away to make the products more palatable. Removing the fiber to make soft breads, tasty juices and fluffy cakes is good for your taste buds but not the rest of your digestive system. Reaching the recommended intake of 25 grams of fiber per day means you will:
-Never have to count calories to maintain a healthy weight
-Never be overweight
-Never have to go on a diet
-Never be hungry
-Avoid health problems like constipation, hemorrhoids and colon cancer
What is Fiber?
Fiber is the indigestible carbohydrate found in the foods you eat. There are two main types of fiber, soluble and insoluble, both of which you need for good heath. In the intestine, soluble fiber dissolves in water forming a bulky gel that slows the digestive processes and nutrient absorption. Soluble fiber is also a good digestive regulator relieving both constipation and diarrhea. Good sources of soluble fiber are found in oat bran, legumes, psyllium, nuts, beans, and various fruits and vegetables.
Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. Instead, it absorbs many times its weight creating a soft bulk. This added bulk increases the speed with which foods passes through the stomach and intestines promoting an easier bowel movement. The increased bulk works through the intestine scouring the intestinal walls of waste matter, reducing the risk of colon-related problems. Insoluble fiber comes from the un-dissolvable parts of plant walls and is found in greatest amounts in whole grain cereals, bran, and vegetables.
Taking Fiber Supplements
Most experts agree that we should try to get our fiber through fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans at our meals. If you decide to take a fiber supplement, psyllium is one of the best fiber supplements because it contains both soluble and insoluble fiber fractions making it a complete fiber. If you are trying to lose weight, the best time to take your fiber supplement is with water right before you eat your meal. Taking fiber supplements does require slowly building up. Your system can react if you try to increase fiber too quickly. Cramping and gas are two of the most common side effects. Not drinking adequate water with your fiber supplement can create blockages in the intestine. To be safe, when you take a fiber supplement, drink at least one eight ounce glass of water.
Planning Meals Around Fiber
The easiest way to get enough fiber is to plan your meals and snacks around fiber rich foods. If you eat three meals and two snacks a day, 4 to 5 grams of fiber per meal/snack time is a good balance. You will be very surprised how challenging it can be to get 25 grams of fiber. To see how well you are doing with fiber by going to http://www.fiberchoice.com/eating/calculator.asp and calculate your fiber intake.
Fresh Start avoids fad diets and instead uses a complete approach to improve your health helping you Get Active, Eat Healthier and Reduce Stress. Fresh Start helps you lower cholesterol, increase bone density, improve muscle strength, speed metabolism and lose weight. Make the most of your activity time while also balancing your lifestyle and maintaining good health at any age.
For more information contact Woody McMahon at 703-464-5171 or email to Woody@SequoiaHealth.com.