• Denine Rogers

Did You Get Your Fiber Intake Today?



Did you know that it is so important to get your fiber 20-30 grams for the day? So many of us are not even coming close to 1 gram of fiber let alone over 20 grams per day. This month is Fiber Focus Month where you can focus on how much fiber that you are eating per day and why it is important to add fiber to you daily eating plan.


What is fiber?


Fiber is the structural part of plant foods that is not digested. There are two types of fiber in food: soluble (viscous) and insoluble. Because soluble fiber is not absorbed in the intestine, it can bind cholesterol and remove it from the body. Fiber is found in many foods, help to lower blood cholesterol levels and stabilize blood sugar levels. It helps prevent colon cancer, constipation, hemorrhoids, obesity, and many other disorders. Because the refining process has removed much of the natural fiber from our foods, the typical American diet is lacking in fiber.


Why is it so important?


Although most fiber is not digested, it delivers several essential health benefits. First, fiber retains water, resulting in softer and bulkier stools that prevents constipation and hemorrhoids. There are seven basic classifications of fiber: bran, cellulose, gum, hemicellulose, lignin, mucilage, and pectin. Each one has its function and is best to rotate among several different supplemental fiber sources.


Bran - is the broken coat of the seed of cereal grain that has been separated from the flour or meal by sifting or bolting. It helps to lower cholesterol.


Cellulose - is an indigestible carbohydrate found in the outer layer of vegetables and fruits. It is good for hemorrhoids, varicose veins, colitis, and constipation, and for the removal of cancer-causing substances from the colon wall. It is found in apples, beets, Brazil nuts, broccoli, carrots, celery, green beans, lima beans, pears, peas and whole grains.


Gums and Mucilages - help to regulate blood glucose levels, aid in lowering cholesterol and help in the removal of toxins, They are found in oatmeal, oat bran, sesame seeds and dried beans.


Hemicellulose- is an indigestible complex carbohydrate that absorbs water. It is good for promoting weight loss, relieving constipation, preventing colon cancer, and controlling carcinogens in the intestinal tract. It is found in apple, bananas, beans, beets, cabbage, corn green leafy vegetables, pears, peppers and whole-grains cereals.


Liginin- this is good for lowering cholesterol levels and it helps to prevent the formation of gallstones by binding with bile acids and removing cholesterol before stones can form. It is found in Brazil nuts, carrots, green beans, peaches, peas, potatoes, strawberries, tomatoes and whole grains.


Pectin - slows the absorption of food after meals, and is good for people with diabetes. Is is found in apples, bananas, beets, cabbage, carrots, citrus fruits, dried peas and okra.


What foods contain fiber? Make sure your diet contains these high-fiber foods:

  • Whole-grains cereals and flours

  • Brown Rice

  • Agar agar (made from algae species gelidium; also called dai choy goh)

  • All kinds of bran

  • Fresh fruit

  • Dried prunes

  • Nuts

  • Seeds (especially flaxseeds)

  • Beans

  • Lentils

  • Peas

  • fresh, raw vegetables

Start with small amounts and gradually increase your intake until your stools are the proper consistency. Eat several of this food daily. When eating organic produce, leave the skin on apples and potatoes. Add extra bran to cereals and bread. Unsalted, unbuttered popcorn is also excellent for added fiber.


How can I maximize my fiber intake per day?


Try to eat 25 to 30 grams of total fiber each day, and 5 to 10 grams of soluble fiber each day. Drink extra water as you increase your daily fiber intake. Fluid needs vary, but 9 to 12 cups of fluid a day are recommended for most healthy people.


So plan your meals and snacks and make sure to add fiber to your meals today.



References:


Balch, P. (2006). Natural Food Supplements. In Prescription for Nutritional Healing (4th ed., p. 79-81). New York, NY: Penguin Group.


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