Just what is fiber and how does our health benefit from it? These days we are hearing a lot about the amount and kinds of fiber we are adding to our diet.
A very simple definition of fiber is that part of eaten plants which passes through our system without being digested. Fiber can be label as either soluble or insoluble. Our bodies benefit from both types and each type plays important roles in helping to keep our bodies healthy. Soluble Fiber is that part of the plant that is dissolved by water once we ingest it and insoluble fiber remains unchanged as it passes through our intestinal tract.
The benefits of fibers to our overall health are numerous and should not be overlooked. Soluble fiber has been found to lower cholesterol and helps to regulate glucose levels in the blood. This type of fiber can be found in whole grains (bran and oats), fruits (apples, prunes, pears), vegetables(broccoli, carrots), and legumes(peas, peanuts). Insoluble fiber helps to prevent constipation and has been linked to preventing the risk of colorectal cancer. Insoluble fiber can be found in brown rice, wheat bran, nuts, and seeds.
An additional benefit of fiber in women's diet is reducing the risk of breast cancer. Fiber helps to reduce the absorption of fat and therefor helps reduce the production of estrogen. Estrogen plays a role in the occurrence of some types of breast cancer.
While the recommended amount of daily fiber is 25-30 grams each day, the average American person only consumes half of this. We have increasingly become a society who eats whatever is put in front of us without thinking about a balanced diet. Some form of fiber should be included in each meal which we consume. For those who do not get enough fiber in your diet, supplements are available. These need to be natural supplements and any increase in daily fiber intake should be done gradually. Adding to much fiber at one time can lead to digestive problems, such as bloating and intestinal gas.
Note: In no way should this post replace medical advice from a physician.