It’s estimated that roughly 100 million people in the U.S. have digestion problems of some sort. Digestion problems?….maybe its just my way of thinking, but don’t you think that maybe something is seriously wrong when 1 out of 3 people can’t even digest their food properly? What’s so hard about digestion? Eat it, digest it. End of story. Well apparently this is NOT the end of the story. I realize I am making light of what is a serious issue..but I just think this is ridiculous and so so so indicative of the state of our food supply and eating habits.
There are lots of issues relative to this topic, from not enough enzymes, to eating bad foods, to pharmaceutical drugs, and a lot more. This entry is going to focus on fiber. Getting adequate amounts of fiber in our diets will take care of a large amount of digestive issues, help our entire body work properly, and give us a needed boost in disease prevention.
Just a few hundred years ago the average diet was flush with fiber. Our ancestors typically received over a hundred grams of fiber per day from their diet. I would venture a guess that colon cancer, diverticulitis, Irritable bowel syndrome, rectal cancer, crohn’s, colitis, hemorrhoids, and all the other health issues that have a direct correlation to inadequate fiber intake, were virtually non-existent. There are several African populations that still eat 75-100 grams of fiber per day, and in those cultures colon cancer, diverticulitis, and hemorrhoids are no where to be found.
Yet in the United States, where the average intake is somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 grams per day, 7 out of 10 people do not pass their food regularly (a recipe for present discomfort and future disease), and colon and rectal cancer are sky-rocketing. There are more new cases of colon cancer each year than any other cancer except lung. Of course the other health issues I previously mentioned are also on the rise as well. The government suggests that we get at least 25 to 35 grams per day to ensure a healthy digestive tract, but I would submit that’s probably too low as well.
I personally supplement 30 grams per day in addition to whatever I get from food (no one can say I am full of …). I have been doing this for about 15 years now, and I attribute this to one of the reasons I have great health. If you don’t know what fiber is, it is essentially the parts of plant foods that the body cannot digest or absorb. It passes through the digestive system mostly intact and also provides a source of beneficial bacteria.
A little tid-bit for those of you watching your carbohydrate intake, In food labels, subtract the fiber gram calories form the carbohydrate calories and then you will have the true absorb-able carbs.
Fiber helps you in a number of ways which I will cover in part two of this post which will be tomorrow. Here’s a simple way to know if you are generally getting enough fiber….sink or float? Tune in tomorrow for the second half of the fiber info.