Friday, July 20, 2007

The Fabulous Benefits of Fiber

My goal for this week was try and add some more fiber to my diet. Each week I try and make a new healthy living goal that I hope to incorporate into my everyday lifestyle.

Most of you already know that I’m huge on living a heart healthy lifestyle, especially due to heart disease running in my family. Well, this week I decided that I wanted to try and add more fiber to my diet because it’s so beneficial to the body.

What are the benefits of fiber? Well, I’m glad you asked:

According to Yahoo, getting enough fiber in the diet can lower the risk of developing certain conditions:

· Heart disease. Evidence is now growing to support the notion that foods containing soluble fiber (such as oats, rye barley, and beans) can have a positive influence on cholesterol, triglycerides, and other particles in the blood that affect the development of heart disease. Some fruits and vegetables (such as citrus fruits and carrots) have been shown to have the same effect.

· Cancer. The passage of food through the body is sped up when fiber is eaten. Some experts believe this may prevent harmful substances found in some foods from affecting the colon and may protect against colon cancer. (However, a recent study conducted by Harvard University concluded that eating high-fiber food did not appear to protect people from colon cancer.) Other types of cancer that are linked with overnutrition and may be prevented by a fiber-rich diet include breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and uterine cancer.

· Diabetes. Adding fiber to the diet helps regulate blood sugar levels, which is important in avoiding diabetes. In addition, some people with diabetes can achieve a significant reduction in their blood sugar levels and may find they can reduce their medication.

· Diverticular disease. Diverticular disease is a condition in which small pouches, called diverticula, develop in the wall of the colon. In a small percentage of people, these diverticula become inflamed or infected, a condition known as diverticulitis. Diverticular disease can cause pain, diarrhea, constipation, and other problems.

· Gallstones and kidney stones. Rapid digestion leads to a rapid release of glucose (sugar) into the bloodstream. To cope with this, the body has to release large amounts of insulin into the bloodstream, and this can make a person more likely to develop gallstones and kidney stones (in addition to diabetes and high cholesterol).

Why not try and incorporate some fiber into your diet today? You’ve got nothing to lose weight. Wait, scratch that, fiber can be beneficial in weight control so you just might lose some weight!

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