What is Fiber?

What is fiber? Also called roughage or bulk, most dietary fiber originates in the external parts of plant foods that your body can’t digest or absorb.

It is found primarily in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes (aka beans). A few familiar examples of fiberous foods include sweet potatoes, kidney beans, celery, bran cereals, nuts brown rice and brown pasta. Even better, most high fiber foods are low glycemic so don't cause your blood sugar to spike!

So what happens if you don't like the foods that are fiberous but need more in your diet... take a supplement. There are many supplements out there, just be sure to read the label as some contain added sugar or high fructose corn syrup...not something we need more of.

Fiber can be an easy solution for constipation. It adds bulk and allows your colon to more easily pass waste. If we aren't getting enough in our food, our stools get dry and hard to pass. However, if you decide to to a supplement for added bulk, start slow and work up, taking too much initially could create discomfort.

Regardless of your age or general physical condition, you need roughage. Consuming adequate amounts of bulk daily is a proactive wellness step everyone should take to stay healthy. Commonly, as we age, your need for it increases.

Dietary fiber is nearly impossible to digest—and that’s precisely why it’s good for you. As it passes virtually unchanged through the digestive system, it helps move other food through the intestines and transports waste products for elimination. In the colon – the main part of the large intestines – fiber is broken down by bacteria.

The simple organic acids produced by this breakdown help nourish the lining of the colon. They also furnish fuel for the rest of the body, especially the liver, and may play a major role in metabolism.

A healthy diet should include approximately 25-30 grams a day. The average American eats less than half that. Ironically, Americans consume only about 10% as much fiber now than they did 100 years ago. Changes at the turn of the 20th century in the way wheat is processed into flour accounts for much of this.

So keep yourself healthy and take precautions against colon issues including cancer by getting your daily amount of roughage.

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