Fiber is the mostly indigestible material in food that stimulates the intestine to peristalsis. It is also referred to as bulk or roughage. The average person eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) of mostly processed foods is not able to meet even the minimal recommended amount of fiber.
The colon, or large intestine, is one of the body’s major organs of waste removal (in addition to the lungs, skin, kidneys and liver). Toxins, cholesterol, medications, and excess hormones which have been removed from your blood by your liver make their way to the intestines. These potential poisons are soaked up by fiber which escorts them from the body. Fiber essentially is the “garbage man” who removes the trash from your body.
What happens to these waste products if you are not eating enough fiber? In the absence of sufficient fiber many of these noxious substances are reabsorbed into the bloodstream.
In order to maintain good health, you need two types of fiber – soluble and insoluble.
· Soluble fiber dissolves in water and serves to slow digestion while lowering blood glucose and cholesterol levels. Foods rich in soluble fiber include citrus and other fruits, vegetables like carrots and peas, beans and grains such as oats.
· Insoluble fiber is not digested like other foods and that’s why it’s responsible for moving things through your system and therefore good for people who suffer from constipation. All plants, especially vegetables, wheat, wheat bran, rye, and brown rice are full of insoluble fiber.
Getting plenty of fiber in your diet also helps you control your weight, lower cholesterol, promote healthy blood sugar levels, and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer.
Getting the minimum amount of daily dietary fiber, 40 grams, is quite simple. Remember whole plant foods are the only natural source of fiber. Animal foods contain no fiber. By avoiding processed foods and sticking to whole food, plant-based eating you will easily meet your fiber needs.