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Fabulous Fiber Just How Much Is Good For You?

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By Mia Bolaris-Forget

We’ve all heard about salads being a fibrous source of “empty” calories. Well, while that may be true for some indigestible fibers, much of this cleansing carbohydrate is essential to maintaining a healthy “environment”.

According to nutrition officials, a healthy, daily dose of fiber can help lower the threat of colon cancer, maintain the beneficial bacteria in the bowel and prevent constipation.

Yet, the average individual gets less than his/her daily requirement of this essential edible. In fact we get between 10-15 out of the 25-40 grams daily recommended.

Fiber may seem “tasteless” but making it part of your daily diet is all in good taste. Fiber helps accelerate the removal of wastes, absorbs toxins (from wastes on their way out), softens stool, reduces cholesterol, combats constipation, and balances blood sugar levels. It is also a nutritionally sound, calorie-free “dietary” tool. Fiber is very filling so you tend to eat less.

Additionally, fiber is available in two distinct varieties: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber diffuses in water and can be found in the gums and pectins of foods such as fruits, vegetables and grains. This beneficial nutrient also wards off cholesterol and balances blood sugar and feeds the beneficial intestinal flora. The most abundant sources of soluble fiber are apples, pears, prunes, plums, beans, oats, legumes, and nuts.

Insoluble fiber is available in foods such as wheat bran, and adds bulk to the stool. It is also known for reducing bowel transit time and preventing constipation. Sources of insoluble fiber include: dry beans, whole grains and seeds.

According to the experts, both types of fiber are necessary for optimal health. Consider incorporating unrefined cereal grains, oats, brown rice and whole wheat to your fare. These nutritious choices are not only ideal for adding fiber to your diet but offer you extra essential vitamins and minerals. Vegetables noted for their balance of the two types of fiber include: peas, beans and squash. Fruits that provide the same are: apples and berries, which contain the highest concentration of fiber.

Though “less popular”, flax also contains a healthy balance of both soluble and insoluble fiber….and, besides bulking the stool and relieving the colon, it also helps lower cholesterol and may reduce the risk of many cancers.

Remember, an increase in fiber mandates an increase in your liquid intake (especially water). Experts note that otherwise your additional fiber intake may result in constipation.
And they remind us that roughage is demanded as part of a healthy diet geared toward preventative health

Long Island Health, Fitness & Beauty Articles > Fabulous Fiber Just How Much Is Good For You?

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