To begin with, fiber supplements and high fiber foods help to keep you “regular.”
And besides relieving constipation, fiber foods and high fiber supplements can decrease your risk of high cholesterol, heart disease, high blood sugar, diabetes, hemorrhoids, colon cancer and many other conditions.
That’s a lot of benefits for just adding more high fiber foods to your diet.
But that’s not that all fiber foods and high fiber supplements do for you. Foods and supplements high in fiber also remove harmful toxins from your body and, as an added bonus, help you lose weight more easily.
Soluble and Insoluble High Fiber Foods
Fiber is basically the skeleton of plants. The skeleton helps plants keep their shape. Since you can’t digest most fiber and it makes you feel fuller, fiber helps you manage your weight and keep your shape too.
Studies show that only 5% of Americans get enough fiber in their diets. And because of this, over a billion dollars is spent every year on laxatives.
The daily average fiber intake in most industrialized countries is about 11 grams. But to be healthy you need 25 to 38 grams of fiber a day – a big difference! For most people it means doubling or tripling fiber intake.
Here’s what optimum daily high fiber intake can do for you:
• Increase healthy bowel movements,
• Eliminate a need for harmful laxatives,
• Decrease hemorrhoids and colon cancer,
• Lower cholesterol and risk of heart disease,
• Help you maintain normal healthy body weight,
• Normalize blood sugar and lower risk of diabetes.
There are two types of fiber found in high fiber foods and supplements.
1. Soluble fiber absorbs water and softens stools, making elimination easier. It also carries cholesterol out of your body and lowers heart disease risk. Soluble fiber sources are vegetables, some fruits, whole grains, especially oats and barley, flaxseeds, psyllium and beans.
2. Insoluble fiber, by not dissolving in water, increases stool bulk and moves waste through the colon faster, helping to relieve constipation and irregularity. It also lowers blood sugar and reduces diabetes risk. Insoluble fiber is found in whole grains, wheat bran, nuts and vegetables.
High fiber foods combined with the high fiber content in fiber supplements, helps you meet your optimum 25 to 38 grams of fiber a day.
But, when you begin using high fiber supplements, such as psyllium, flaxseed and bran, always make sure you follow these three steps.
1. Drink LOTS of water. Fiber particles soak up water from your intestines and colon. When you increase fiber intake and don’t increase your water intake, you can actually cause constipation or make it worse.
2. Increase fiber slowly. When you begin eating more high fiber foods and taking high fiber supplements, your body needs to adjust gradually. Too much fiber too fast can cause gas and bloating. So build up slowly.
3. Relax and be patient. If you’re following these directions, you may start seeing positive results from day one. But it could take several days or even more for your system to adjust to your new high fiber food diet.
But in time, you’ll be feeling so great that the wait will be well worth it!
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