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Change nothing else. Just eat 30 grams of fiber daily and you could lose up to 10 lbs. That’s what some researchers say. Plus you’ll lower your cholesterol. Eliminate constipation. And reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes. Read more

 


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Fascinating Facts About Fiber


Fiber is one of nature’s most amazing achievements. Several large and long-term studies have shown that consumed properly it can:

  • lower your risk of coronary heart disease by 40%
  • reduce your chances of developing type 2 diabetes
  • eliminate constipation
  • diminish your risk of heart attack, high blood pressure and stroke
  • relieve hot flashes
  • curb appetite
  • cut nearly in half the likelihood that you’ll be among the one in three Americans who develop intestinal inflammation (called diverticular disease) by age 45.

 

Not too long ago, the American diet was fairly high in fiber. People ate less meat and dairy products (which contain no fiber whatsoever) and they ate more fruit, vegetables, nuts, beans and whole grain breads (which contain a lot of fiber). Then in the early 1900s, the American food industry was born and as it developed, more and more foods got packaged and sold for consumer convenience.

 

It didn’t take long for manufacturers to discover that they could prolong the shelf life of their products by removing the fiber. Although they didn’t realize it at the time, this process also increased the foods’ caloric density and cut the time it took for the foods to be absorbed into the bloodstream.

 

What’s so wrong with that? The answer has a lot to do with how two unique kinds of fiber work inside the body.

 

Insoluble Fiber (sometimes called roughage) cannot be digested. Instead, it soaks up water and turns into soft, spongy clusters inside your stomach and intestines.

  • These clusters fill the digestive tract and create a sense of “fullness” that curbs appetite and contributes to weight loss.
  • The fullness also sends a start-up message to the gastrointestinal tract, encouraging faster and more complete digestion. This is why fiber so effectively relieves constipation.
  • And why it helps prevent putrefaction and toxic intestinal irritation.
  • It also slows the rate at which healthy nutrients enter the bloodstream, stabilizing low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and helping to control high blood sugar (diabetes). 

 

Soluble Fiber cannot be digested, either. Like its insoluble counterpart, it’s digested fairly fast and travels through your system relatively unchanged.

  • It functions almost like a broom, sweeping up a lot of unhealthy stuff—like fat and cholesterol from food you’ve consumed, and takes it along as it’s eliminated from the body
  • Without this action, leftover by-products of unhealthy eating would be reabsorbed into the bloodstream.
  • That’s why it lowers cholesterol and, as a result, reduces the risk of coronary disease, hypertension and stroke.

 

So here's the bottom line: fiber keeps healthy nutrients available to your body longer and helps eliminate toxic substances faster. Think of it as the ultimate dietary win-win.

 

Why Women Gain Weight After Menopause

 

If you decide to increase your fiber intake keep a few things in mind:

  1. The National Fiber Council recommends that, on average, adults consume 32 grams of fiber daily. (But this can be adjusted based on individual health conditions. So speak with your primary care provider before altering your diet.)
  2. Be careful to increase fiber-rich foods gradually and drink at least 8 glass of water a day. Both will help keep you from experiencing abdominal cramps and bloating.
  3. Eat beans instead of meat 2-3 times a week. Use them in soups, stews, casseroles and with rice and pasta dishes.
  4. Don’t rely on juicers. While rich in many nutrients, fruit and vegetable juices are almost devoid of fiber. Eat the produce; don’t drink it.
  5. Freezing, drying and normal cooking do not significantly reduce the fiber content of most foods.
  6. Supplements are not an adequate substitute for food fiber. An entire bottle of most over-the-counter fiber capsules offers as much fiber as one bowl of grain cereal with strawberries.

 

 

 
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Mayo Clinic High-Fiber Food Web Page