How Important Is Fiber?
July 28, 2008 03:47 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
As a society we are undoubtedly suffering from a lack of dietary fiber. Although it is true that we are constantly warned that diets low in fiber can actually kill us, most of us continue eating the way we always have. Our diets are full of empty calories, refined foods, sugar, and very little when it comes to whole foods. As far as fiber is considered, many of us believe that a daily bowl of cereal is more than enough fiber. Sadly, the food in many of our houses consist of white flour products, cooked and canned vegetables, cookies, chips, all of which are fiber-less and artificially altered from their original state, making them less and less like actual food. The typical American eating habits have led to issues of chronic constipation, intestinal gas, bowel disorders, and a variety of infections all leading to colon cancer.
If we want to increase our fiber intake, we must first recognize what exactly fiber is, where it is found, and how it works. A lot of us would not even recognize certain foods in their whole, natural state. For the most part, whole foods from plants offer us a great amount of dietary fiber. Although food producers add natural and synthetic fiber to foods, they cannot improve on the natural fiber that is found in plants. Since ancient times, whole grains have been considered staples of the diet were consumed by the lower-class societies who could not afford the fatty, sweet, high protein diets of the upper class.
It is no coincidence that as our intake of fiber decreased, certain bowel diseases including colon cancer and diverticulitis increased. Physicians of the 19th and early 20th centuries prescribed the worse possible treatment for these bowel disorders, which was eating a bland, highly refined diet. Now today, there are over 85,000 cases of colon cancer that have diagnosed in our country each year, with the number growing.
The science of fiber began in the early 20th century, when studies were initiated on the laxative action of bran, as well as other subjects. Researchers in the sixties noticed that certain diseases, which were devastating our societies, were relatively rare in third world communities. It was concluded that all the diseases of our civilization were caused by our over-consumption of sugar and refined carbohydrates. Thankfully, the medical establishment has become more aware nowadays.
Today we know that the condition of the colon is related to all body systems and can influence numerous chronic diseases, which include cancer. A bacterial flora imbalance may be the cause of many diseases, with this condition being referred to as autointoxication. Autointoxication is caused by the array of poisons that an unhealthy colon can harbor and is based on the belief that what you eat determines the kind of bacteria which will inhabit your bowel.
It has been found that we rarely replenish the good flora by eating good sources of acidophilus and routinely kill the friendly bacteria by using antibiotics and other drugs and alcohol. This creates the perfect habitat for pathogenic bacteria to flourish and leaving our colons as a toxic waste dump. Intestinal microflora can be altered by increasing your intake of dietary fiber in as little as two weeks. Since fiber affects several vital metabolic processes, eating enough of it is extremely important in maintaining good health and preventing disease.
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