Monday, December 10, 2012

Why does it matter if I eat fiber?

     What exactly is fiber?  It is the part of the plant that we cannot digest.  Insoluble fiber is usually part of the plant’s outer cover, like the skin.  It makes stool softer and bulkier and easier to well, get out.  Soluble fiber is part of the plant cell, and it combines with water in our body to make a gel that slows down the absorption of carbohydrates and reduces cholesterol in the blood stream.
     Most of us need more fiber in our diets.  Basically the more you eat the more fiber you need to digest that food.  The recommendation is about 12.5mg of fiber per 1000 calories.  Why?  Fiber does a lot of things for the body.  If you have read anything about the benefits of fiber lately you may already know that it may decrease or prevent  diarrhea, constipation, hemorrhoids, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), diverticulosis, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and heart disease.
     But did you know that it is essential for enterohepatic circulation?  Did you what to know what enterohepatic circulation is?  It is the circulation between the liver and the intestines.  Enterohepatic circulation removes fat soluble wastes from our bloodstream.  That is what bile is for.  Bile is circulated through our blood stream picking up toxins and wastes and then is recirculated through the liver.  When bile comes in contact with soluble fiber it binds to it and is then eliminated.  When we don’t eat enough fiber, we recirculate all those toxins back through the body.  
     After a long period of time without enough fiber, the bile changes from a liquid to more like mud or sludge, which can increase the chances of gallstones and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Also, fiber provides food for the good bacteria in our gastrointestinal system.  So, after you eat the yogurt for the probiotics, you don’t want to starve them. 
Now, if you are convinced that you want to increase your fiber how do you do it?  An equally important, how do you increase the fiber in your kid’s diet?  More on this to come later, but don’t just start eating your daily fiber requirements all of a sudden.  Slowly increase the fiber in your diet so you don’t have an uncomfortable and socially unacceptable side effect of bloating and gas and diarrhea or constipation depending on your water intake.    That gas by the way is a sign.  It is a sign that your body needed more fiber and that it is doing the job of binding with the dirty bile.
 For more information check out my post about oligosaccharides and Karen Hurd’s website.


  1. Love my fiber. You don't realize how much you need it until you start getting some in your diet! Thanks for linking up today at medical mondays.

    1. I agree that fiber is important, but easy to neglect. Thanks for stopping by.