Eating a lot of fiber could save your life

Harold Mandel's picture
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There has been a great deal of hype in the natural health press about the vital importance of fiber for your overall good health. It appears there is a great deal more to this than simply serving as good marketing for certain foods and magazines. Studies have consistently confirmed that fiber is simply good for your health, and lack of fiber could make you very sick.

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Harvard School of Public Health notes that fiber is a type of carbohydrate which the body can’t digest. Most carbohydrates are broken down into sugar molecules, however, fiber cannot be broken down into sugar molecules. Fiber is instead passed through the body undigested. Fiber assists in regulating the body’s use of sugars, therefore helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check. It has been advised that children and adults consume at least 20 to 30 grams of fiber daily for good health. Excellent sources of fiber are whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and beans.

There are two primary varieties of fiber, both of which are good for your health. Soluble fiber dissolves in water and can help lower both glucose levels and blood cholesterol levels. Oatmeal, nuts, beans, lentils, apples and blueberries. are foods with soluble fiber. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and can help food move through your digestive system. This type of fiber promotes regularity and helps prevent constipation. Wheat, whole wheat bread, whole grain couscous, brown rice, legumes,cucumbers, tomatoes, and carrots are foods with insoluble fiber.

The risk of developing various conditions appears to be reduced with fiber, including heart disease, diabetes, diverticular disease, and constipation.

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Bio-Medicine has reported, "Study strengthens link between low dietary fiber intake and increased cardiovascular risk." A new study, which has been published in the December issue of The American Journal of Medicine, has showed that there is a notable association between low dietary fiber intake and cardiometabolic risks, which include metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular inflammation, and obesity.

Previous studies have shown dietary fiber may assist in lowering blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and inflammation. It has therefore been felt that dietary fiber plays an important role in reducing cardiovascular risk.

This study highlighted the importance of increasing dietary fiber intake for US adults by showing there is a correlation between low dietary fiber and an increased risk for cardiovascular risk. Participants who had the highest prevalence of metabolic syndrome, inflammation, and obesity were found to be in the lowest quintile of dietary fiber intake. Senior investigator Cheryl R. Clark, MD, ScD has said, "Overall, the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome, inflammation, and obesity each decreased with increasing quintiles of dietary fiber intake."

In comparison with participants who were in the lowest quintile of dietary fiber intake, participants who were in the highest quintile of dietary fiber intake had a statistically significant lower risk of developing metabolic syndrome, inflammation, and obesity. The associations between higher dietary fiber and a lower prevalence of cardiometabolic risks has suggested the need to develop new strategies and policies aimed at increasing dietary fiber intake.

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