The Importance of Fiber
Importance of Fiber !
Week of March 10, 2017
The American diet is pathetic at best. Full of refined carbohydrates, processed grains, and sugary drinks, the average patient is more than likely to partake in their fair share of these non-food items which are most likely causing some if not all of the physical issues they are dealing with. However, the high starch and sugar content found in these refined carbohydrates isn’t really the biggest problem. The real issue is the absence of adequate fiber which has been taken out of most of our foods.
Fiber is a very broad term that includes many different types of plant carbohydrates. We cannot readily digest them but our intestinal microbes can. These fibers can be classified into three general categories:
Those that are able to be digested
Those that are digested by the microbiota
Those that are passed out in the stool
Our gut microbes are well-equipped to break down these fiber-rich carbohydrates into chemicals that nourish our cells, decrease inflammation and can help normalize weight. Each type of microbe specializes in breaking down different types of fiber. The greater the fiber intake, the greater the number of gut microbes. Diets low in fiber will have fewer gut microbes and some of them, after having been “starved,” can even become extinct. So, part of restoring healthy gut flora includes the integration of a wide variety of food fibers.The best sources of fiber are found in all fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts and legumes. Some are more dense than others, containing higher amounts of indigestible fiber for maximum feeding of the microbiota. But it is best to start slowly. When the necessary microbes are not present, adding a large amount of fiber can cause bloating and generalized abdominal discomfort.
Using Whole Food Fiber is an excellent way to boost fiber intake but should not be considered the sole source. The best option is to include foods that have higher amounts of naturally occurring fiber.
Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower
Turnip, mustard and collard greens
Pine nuts, flax seeds and almonds
Dried figs, prunes and pears
Raspberries and elderberries
Avocado, guava and jicama
Sweet potato and acorn squash
Split peas, lentils and beans