Who would have guessed this non sexy, oldie but goodie food can be so beneficial to your health and can be the best cure for what ails you. Fiber is a complex carbohydrate that has the parts of plants that cannot be digested. It is composed of both soluble and insoluble forms. Soluble fiber draws water into the bowel and slows digestion: oats, barley, psyllium. It is fermented in the colon. Insoluble fiber is not fermented or digested and absorbs water and helps move your bowels. Soluble fiber seems to have the greater health benefit and the good news is that it also has insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber has the best of both and usually is in foods that have a lot of nutrients.
The usual intake in the SAD or Standard American Diet is only 15 grams! If you eat over 35 grams, you can be anti aging by reducing chronic diseases such as:
- Coronary Artery Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- High Cholesterol
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Chron’s Disease
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Weight Control
- Blood Sugar Control
- Colon Cancer
A little goes a long way!
- Only a 10 gram increase will result in a 14% decrease in cardiovascular effect and 27% decrease in risk of death from heart disease.
- Adding an additional 14 grams is associated with a 4-pound weight loss. It makes you feel full and curbs your appetite
- Fiber slows down the absorption of sugar and decreases belly fat.
- Soluble fiber decreases bile acids and lowers cholesterol reducing your need for cholesterol lowering medication.
- Fiber also balances hormones and blood sugar.
- All of these benefits are anti aging and prevent or reverse chronic illness.
It moves you!
- It is a gentle and natural laxative and lightens your load.
While all that I listed has both soluble and insoluble fiber, here are good sources:
- Soluble fiber: legumes such as peas, lentils and kidney beans, fruits especially apples, pear, oranges, berries and prunes, oats, rye, chia seeds, barley, vegetables such as broccoli and carrots
- Insoluble fiber: whole grains, bran, nuts (raw, unsalted), seeds, flax, hemp, peels of fruits
- Chia seeds: Soak in water or almond or coconut milk and add cinammon and a slight touch of stevia to make porridge. They are an excellent source of fiber and Omega 3 fatty acids. You can also sprinkle them in shakes, yogurt and cereal.
- Quinoa: It is not only high in fiber; quinoa is a complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids and is an excellent source of magnesium and manganese. You can use this as a side dish instead of rice or make a hot cereal. Cooked quinoa seeds are fluffy and creamy, yet slightly crunchy with a nutty flavor. Quinoa is gluten free and high in vitamins and minerals.
- Look for supplements with beta glucan and psyllium to get all of these beneficial effects: laxative, lower cholesterol, blood pressure, weight and blood sugar as well as reduction in heart disease.
Start slowly and increase gradually. Drink plenty of fluid. Fill up with fiber for a fabulous cure.
Lorraine Maita, MD is an award winning physician, speaker and author of “Vibrance for Life: How to Live Younger and Healthier”. She is an expert in anti aging medicine, bioidentical hormone replacement, weight loss, nutrition, supplements and executive health. She has a private practice in Anti Aging Medicine howtoliveyounger.com in Short Hills, NJ. You can live younger and healthier!