Getting Healthy

Fiber—The Why?!

  • Okay, now that we know what fiber is, why do we need fiber in the first place?

 

Fiber, especially soluble fiber, is important for many reasons, including…

 

1. Acne…Fiber—especially psyllium husk, a type of plant seed, can flush toxins out of your body, improving the health and appearance of your skin.

 

2.  Diabetes. A diet high in fiber—particularly insoluble fiber from cereals—can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. If you already have diabetes, eating soluble fiber can slow the absorption of sugar, regulate your blood sugar levels, and help lower cholesterol.

 

3.  Digestive System…Soluble fiber can also help treat many cases of constipation,

Fiber functions as a prebiotic, feeding the friendly bacteria in the intestine and shifting the balance of bacteria, increasing healthy bacteria, while decreasing the unhealthy bacteria that can be the root of some digestive problems

Fiber also provides bulk in the intestines, while helping balance the pH levels in the intestines. It promotes regular bowel movements and helps prevent or treat problems—such as constipation, diarrhea, diverticulitis (inflammation of the intestine), hemorrhoids, gallstones, kidney stones, irritable bowel syndrome, colorectal cancer, gastroesophageal reflux disorder, and ulcers.

 

4.  Heart Disease…Fiber, particularly soluble fiber, is an important element of any heart-healthy diet. Failing to get enough fiber in your diet will cause your digestive tract to not work efficiently or effectively (not sure which word should be used here)…which in turn could lead to high cholesterol levels and eventually heart disease.

 

5. Immunity and Risks…High-fiber diets may help lower your risk of certain diseases—including diverticulosis, irritable bowel syndrome, coronary heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

 

6.  Nutritional Value…Soluble fiber creates a gel in the digestive system because it bonds with fatty acids. This gel causes food to stay in your stomach for a longer amount of time, allowing for better absorption of nutrients.

 

7.  Obesity…Fiber is a key factor in both losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight. Fiber slows down the absorption of carbohydrates and helps us feel more satisfied with fewer calories.

Also, high-fiber foods—such as fruits and vegetables—tend to be low in calories.

Finally, because fiber works to regulate blood sugar levels, fiber can help you avoid insulin spikes that leave you feeling drained and craving unhealthy foods.

 

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Getting Healthy

Fiber—The What?!

Another major nutrient that is missing from processed foods is fiber.

 

What is fiber?

Fiber is part of the cellular wall of  plant-based foods—specifically fruits, vegetables grains, nuts, and beans.

According to the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy of Sciences in 2002, the recommended dietary for men aged fourteen to fifty is 38 grams of fiber per day, while women aged nineteen to fifty require 25 grams of fiber.

However, the typical American person on a typical American diet of primarily processed foods will not even come close to amounts.

Fiber comes in two varieties: insoluble and soluble.

Insoluble fiber is the bulky fiber that does not dissolve in water. Insoluble fiber is found in whole grains, wheat cereals, and vegetables such as carrots, celery, and tomatoes.

Soluble fiber does dissolves in water and helps control blood sugar levels and reduce cholesterol. Good sources include barley, oatmeal, beans, nuts, and fruits—such as apples, berries, citrus fruits, and pears. Many foods contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.

Note that there is no fiber in meat, dairy, or sugar.

 

 

Getting Healthy

Now What?!…Raw Foods Diet

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The next series of posts will be what I consider my breakfast posts. However, instead of talking about breakfast and the foods that you would most likely expect me to devote my time to right now, I plan on writing about my feeble attempts to adopt some sort of a “raw food diet.”

Mainly I am doing this so that I won’t have to cook…kinda like the fact that I use huge recyclable cloth bags whenever I go shopping—not to save the environment, but so that I can crame more into each bag and, as a result, make fewer trips from my car into the house…and also so that I don’t have to worry about some high school kid filling bags so full that the $200 worth of groceries that you just bought end up as one huge compost pile in your driveway.

Pursuing a “raw foods diet” involve eating mostly, or only, unprocessed and uncooked foods that are actually “raw.”…go figure.

Some followers of the raw food diet do eat raw fish and meat, raw eggs, sushi, and unpasteurized dairy. But most people who stick to a “raw foods diet” adhere strictly to stick to a strictly vegetarian diet that only includes foods that are organic, uncooked, and unprocessed.

Foods that can be included on a raw foods diet include vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruits, sprouted grains, and beans—none of which can have been heated above a certain temperature, usually somewhere between 104 and 118 degrees.

Being brought up in the Deep South, this should be interesting. Our typical breakfast, when we actually have time to grab something other than a granola bar as we head out the door, typically consist of bacon, big biscuits with lots of gravy, grits with cheese, and  so forth. This should be fun?!