There are two types of fiber in foods and we need both. Insoluble fiber, found in the outer layer of grains such as wheat bran, promote a healthy digestive system and colon health. Heart health benefits come from soluble fiber, the type of fiber found in oats and apples. Increasing soluble fiber intake helps naturally lower blood cholesterol and blood-sugar levels.

Much importance is placed on vitamins, minerals, and herbal remedies in our daily supplementation, but one of the important elements to good health is with the amount of fiber we eat. Fiber is a very important part of our diets. High fiber foods are filling, but low in calories, so they help in weight management. Fiber has a key job to take part in maintaining a healthy digestive system.

By increasing the volume of fecal material, it helps in the efficient passage of waste products through the intestine. It also draws in water from the surrounding blood vessels, which softens the stools, making elimination more regular and easier, thus helping to prevent constipation and hemorrhoids. By reducing the absorption of digested fats, blood cholesterol levels are lowed, thereby reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.

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Every adult should eat about 25-30 grams of fiber a day. However, the average American, eating the typical Western diet high in animal fats and refined carbohydrates, consumes only about half the amount needed. The National Academy of Sciences recently upped its fiber guidelines to 25g daily for women and 38g daily for men. For children add 5g to your child’s age for the proper amount.

How Fiber Works

- Fiber absorbs and holds moisture in the digestive system, acting like a sponge and making the contents of the colon softer and more bulky. This reduces the amount of time waste materials stay in our 30 foot span of intestinal tract and also eases their passage, lowering the pressure in the colon.

- Fiber reduces problems from constipation and diverticulitis which is a weakening if the wall of large intestine caused by pressure from hard stools and is usually accompanied with infection. Fiber cleans the intestines by means of its natural scrubbing action.

- By increasing the transit rate of materials through the colon, fiber lessens the chance of harmful effects from a number of drugs, food additives and chemicals. It also helps remove toxins released during digestion.

- A diet high in dietary fiber may lower blood cholesterol levels simply by reducing the transit time of dietary cholesterol through the gastrointestinal tract, minimizing the absorption of cholesterol from foods.

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