The following article is a small excerpt from one of my books. I hope you’ll want to learn more and let me help you to get into the best shape of your life.
Dietary fiber is the tough stuff found in fruits, vegetables and grains that resists digestion by human enzymes. Not necessarily a nutrient, it does however play an important role in the digestive process. Studies have shown that high fiber foods are lower in calories, satisfy the appetite, require more chewing and take longer to digest. Other foods are nearly all digested and absorbed as they pass through the small intestine but fiber enters the large intestine almost all intact.
Fiber is found in two forms; soluble (unrefined oat products, dried beans, peas, lentils, apples and citrus fruit) and insoluble (vegetables and whole grains). Water soluble fiber absorbs fluid as it moves through the digestive system and studies show that it aids in the reduction of serum cholesterol. Soluble fiber is able to bind acids and prevent their absorption by the body. This causes the body to convert some cholesterol into bile acids, which are necessary for fat digestion, thus reducing levels of cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.
Insoluble fiber passes through the body faster. This may reduce the time cancer causing substances remain in the digestive tract. This faster passage however may decrease the body’s absorption of vitamins and minerals as well as the action of digestive enzymes and the secretion of hormones.
There is evidence dietary fiber helps decrease the risk of colon cancer. It is believed the added bulk and speedier transit time decreases the contact of carcinogens with the colon wall. Some experts believe carcinogenous bile acids are bound by some types of fiber such as oats and beans and are passed off in elimination.
One problem to watch out for is too much fiber in your diet. Excess wheat bran for example many bind and prevent absorption of calcium, iron, zinc and other minerals.
The average daily intake is about 10 grams, however one should try to consume 20 grams but no more than 50 grams. (fiber intake should be increased gradually so that your body has time to adjust)
The National cancer Institute recommends as much as 35 grams of fiber a day so if you aim between 20 and 35 grams of fiber a day it would be good.
You should be careful however to get your fiber from natural sources and not rely on fiber pills. Fiber pills often contain less fiber than actual food sources and because fiber comes in different forms (cellulose, pectin, lignin, hemicellulose, and gums) and the optimal combination is unknown.
Sources of fiber are:
Raw fruits ( apples, bananas, berries, citrus fruits and pears), Vegetables (broccoli, brussel sprouts, carrots, corn, peas, potatoes with skin, pumpkin and squash) and Starches (beans, bran cereals, lentils, popcorn, whole grain breads and cereals).
Generally when a food label says, contains fiber, a good source of fiber or provides fiber, the fiber content is between 2.5 and 4.9 grams per serving. When a food label says, high fiber, rich in fiber or an excellent source of fiber, the fiber content is 5 grams per serving or more.
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