FHN Complementary Medicine Monthly Newsletter March 2007
Fiber Facts ( you aren’t getting enough)
We all know the benefits of fiber! Fiber not only promotes health, it also helps reduce the risk for some chronic diseases. For instance, fiber prevents constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulosis. Fiber is also linked to prevent some cancers especially colon and breast cancer. In addition, fiber may help lower the LDL cholesterol (the Bad cholesterol) and the total cholesterol therefore reducing the risk of heart disease. Furthermore, fiber can help lower blood sugar therefore help better manage diabetes.
The intake of crude fiber in the American diet was assessed for 7 time periods between 1909 and 1975 using food consumption and composition tables. Crude fiber intake dropped 28% from 6.8 g/day in 1909 to 4.9 g/day in 1957 to 1959 and has remained at that level until the present. The intake of fiber from vegetables has remained relatively constant from 1909 to 1975 while potatoes, fruit, cereals, dry peas, and dry bean consumption have declined. The trends shown for crude fiber consumption in the
Fiber falls into 2 broad catagories soluble and insoluble. Both soluble and insoluble fiber are undigested. They are therefore not absorbed into the bloodstream. Instead of being used for energy, fiber is excreted from our bodies. Soluble fiber forms a gel when mixed with liquid, while insoluble fiber does not. Insoluble fiber passes through our intestines largely intact, therefore bulks up the size and weight of the feces. Soluble fiber bind with fatty acids and prolong stomach emptying time so that sugar is released and absorbed more slowly.
The RDA of fiber is 25 grams. Sadly the average American diet contains between 1.7g to 10g per day. Obviously we need to do better. We need 5-6 servings of vegetables (potatoes don’t count and ketchup is not a vegetable) and 3-4 WHOLE grain servings per day to come close to that amount. The best source of fiber is your food. If you can’t or won’t eat that much you may need to supplement your fiber input. But not all fibers are the same…the fiber you take depends on what you need and what you are trying to accomplish.
Here are some ideas.
Wheat Bran Increase Fecal Bulk
Oat Bran Binds bile salts
Guar,legumes, psyllium, citrus rind, Bind steroids,delay gastric emptying,
Apple, onion skin, agar,carrageenan and remove heavy metals
Wheat , apple, Cabbage , Broccolli Antioxidant, anticarcinogenic
So start chewing for your health.
Drs. Glenn and Julie Smith