We hear a lot today about foods high in fiber. There are several reasons our digestive system requires this beneficial element. However, when we don’t introduce enough fiber into our body, the results can be devastating.
Digestion Without the Drama
Devastating results caused by insufficient intake of fiber is not a bended truth or a statement created for dramatic effect. It’s important to realize fiber’s role in our digestion process. If our gut is imbalanced or impaired (because our digestive system is a mess), it affects our entire body—that includes our brain, muscles, weight, and risk for onset of diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other diseases.
Fiber is found in vegetables, fruits, certain whole grains, legumes, beans, lentils, nuts, and seeds. It’s not absorbed or digested but actually, helps push everything else through your system that has been eaten and broken down. It aids with proper bowel movement as well as forcing out toxins and carcinogens that would otherwise linger.
Fiber creates bulk, and that’s a good thing. It helps take out our trash. And with cleaner insides, we’ll have lower cholesterol, moderated blood pressure, balanced glucose levels, and less inflammation.
What’s the Low Down on High Fiber?
According to the Journal of American Medical Association, Americans should be eating up to 35 grams of fiber each day. Doctor Oz suggests we should include even more. But, unfortunately, statistics show that most Americans consume roughly less than 15 grams of fiber per day.
So what does that mean? At the least, it presupposes that the majority of Americans must be constipated (or at least irregular.) But aside from how your tummy or colon is feeling, your imbalanced and under-fibered gut is affecting your brain. It’s sending messages that you’re tired. It’s also weakening your immune system. And more research is leading to the understanding that serious health issues are developing.
Fiber and Gut Bacteria
We’ve discussed and read about the good bacteria needed in our intestines. That’s why we take probiotics, eat yogurt, and try not to take antibiotics unless we absolutely have to. We want to keep the good stuff alive.
Fiber helps remove waste and push through toxins and bad bacteria, keeping the good stuff strong.
Researchers, recently, have linked specific proteins that are found in the brain of Parkinson’s patients with chemicals found in gut bacteria. One study found that those particular proteins actually traveled from the gut to the brain.
Medical experts also point to constipation as a common denominator in Parkinson’s sufferers. Many struggled with constipation for up to a decade before other neurological symptoms appeared.
Fiber Up and Chow Down
Natural plant-based food sources are the best way to get your fill of fiber. Eat a diverse selection of fruits and veggies. Don’t be afraid to try bok choi, turnips, dragonfruit, rambutan, mangosteen, or anything from your market with seeds or green leaves. You’ll never get bored, and you’ll be adding all types of fiber and various vitamins and minerals into your diet.
Probiotics sourced from yogurt, kimchi, kombucha, etc. and prebiotics (from dark chocolate, red grape skins, and Matcha, etc.) will help balance the acidity and alkalinity in your gut as well. Add some good fiber, and you will be and stay in amazing shape, inside and out!