What is Fiber?
Fiber is mostly made up of carbohydrates. However, unlike the usual carbohydrates found in bread and other foods, our body can’t digest fiber. In spite of this, fiber helps keep our digestive system running smoothly and helps improve overall health. Meat does not have fiber. Fiber is found only in plant foods.
How much Fiber do we need per day?
The U.S. Government Dietary Guidelines 2015 recommend that women need about 25 grams of fiber a day, and men need slightly more—about 30 grams per day.
Simply put, there’s a popular saying: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
In addition to plentiful phytochemicals and antioxidants, one apple, with the skin, contains about 4.4 grams of fiber. Without the skin, you’re only getting about 2.1 grams.
More accurately, the saying should be: “10 apples a day keep the doctor away.”
Does Fiber help the function of the immune system?
A diet high in fiber affects immune cells and antibodies, and potentially boosts immune function. A study done shows animal models that ate soluble fiber fell ill 50% less often than their counterparts and recovered 50% faster.
By helping to remove toxins from the bowels, fiber prevents such toxins from affecting the lining of our intestines, and from being absorbed into the body and affecting our other organs, such as the liver. This gives us many additional benefits, such as having more beautiful, clear skin!
How does Fiber help prevent colon cancer?
As fiber helps keep our bowels moving in a timely manner, it will reduce the time potential toxin-causing agents have in contact with the walls of the colon. It is believed that the longer the toxins are in contact with the cells, the greater the risk of the cells becoming cancerous. In addition, when bacteria in the intestines break down fiber, a substance called butyrate is produced, which may inhibit cancer cell growth.
A study done in Europe shows that those who consume an average of 35 grams of fiber daily have a 25% lower risk of developing colon cancer compared to those who consume only about 15 grams of fiber daily. The results of the study suggest that those who don’t eat enough fiber could reduce their risk of colon cancer by up to 40% just by eating 50% more fiber.
Eating a large amount of Fiber is giving me gas and bloating. Is this normal?
Most people do not have enough fiber in their daily diet. In the USA, most people only eat about 15 grams of fiber every day.
As you start to increase the amount of fiber in your diet, bloating and gas is common. The bloating and gas is due to the healthy bacteria in your intestines working to break down this extra fiber while battling the other bacteria.
Making healthy changes takes time. Instead of stopping your high-fiber diet, you should persist and allow your body to adjust to the increase in fiber.