Fibre…is a wonderful substance. Technically, it is a group of indigestible carbohydrates found in plants, animals and synthetic sources. People usually associate fibre with easier bowel movements, which it does provide, but there are many other benefits of eating a diet rich in fibre that you may not know about…so here are some!
1. Lowering Serum Cholesterol: fibres from beans, lentils, and oats decrease total serum cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. Supplementing with pectin, guar gum or psyllium has also been found to have similar beneficial effects. If you are interested in supplementation, try Natures Sunshine Locolo.
2. Weight Control: Dietary fibre helps you feel full. Supplementing 15 min or so before a meal helps you feel fuller, so you eat less at meal time. Fibre also helps to regulate your blood sugar and helps control cravings. Studies show that people with higher fibre intake are leaner and less likely to be obese that those with low-fibre intakes. Try Natures Sunshine Fat Grabbers.
3. Detox the Colon: Fibre helps scour out the colon, more specifically the plugged out-pouchings in the colon where nasty, fecal matter gets stuck. Fibre acts like a brush and helps clean out that stuff. Do you know that people have on average 10 pounds of fecal matter that is stuck in their colon? Think of that…10 pounds! That is like a carrying around a large watermelon 24 hours per day. Getting rid of that amount of weight in stuck poop can only be a good thing, right? Think of how your body might function differently if you added some more fibre to your day! Try Nature’s Sunshine Psyllium Hulls.
4. Colorectal Cancer: The “scientific” data is not conclusive on weather fibre can help protect against colorectal cancer. There are undoubtedly many factors that put someone at risk for cancer, so just adding fibre has not been “proven” to be protective. However, in the context of other lifestyle and dietary factors, like reducing harmful fats, drinking plenty of water, eating lots of raw foods, cutting out processed foods, reducing meat consumption, reducing alcohol consumption and exercising…to name a few, adding a good amount of dietary fibre to clean out the colon just makes common sense.
5. Diverticular Disease: High fibre diets are associated with a lower risk of diverticulosis! That is a condition in which pouches form in your intestine that are filled with inflammatory stuck poop. Although most people with diverticulosis experience no symptoms, some people develop pain or inflammation in their abdomen and are diagnosed with diverticulitis. With or without symptoms, the point is that increasing fibre is one thing you can do to decrease the development of these poop-pouches. In a large study, men with the highest dietary fibre intakes had a risk of developing symptomatic diverticular disease that was 42% lower than men with the lowest dietary fibre intakes. This was particularly the case for plant fibres known as cellulose.
Ok, so how do you go about increasing your dietary fibre? The answer is…slowly! Some people can experience adverse symptoms like cramping, bloating or gas when they increase their dietary fibre. So, go slow and be sure to drink large amouts of water…at least 60 ounces per day for most people. If you have any impaired intestinal motility or your doctor has advised against a high fibre diet, for whatever reason…then your doctor should always be contacted first. For some people, increasing fibre can interfere with prescription drug absorption. If your Doctor gives you the green light, always take your fibre supplements at least 1 hour before your prescription, or 2 hours after.
How Much Fibre Do I Need? The US guidelines are for total fibre and you are looking at about 40 grams per day for men and 25 grams per day for women 50 years of age and younger. Over 50 years of age the recommendation is 30 grams per day for men, and 21 grams per day for women.
Foods that are rich in fibre include fruits, veggies and whole grains…and the ever popular prunes!
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