FIBER FRIEND TO FIBRO
Fiber happens to be nearly everyone’s friend, but for those of us challenged by impaired digestion (IBS, etc.), food sensitivities, and an inflamed body, fiber can be particularly beneficial. It’s therefore a friend to those who deal with fibromyalgia and other chronic health conditions. The good news? It can lead to an overall reduction of symptoms.
Here’s a few tips and hints about fiber’s fabulous functions.
Can you imagine what it would be like to have a constant companion – a buddy – who makes your job easier, clears away obstacles from your path, and helps you with your goals and plans?
That’s what happens when friendly dietary fiber is added to your daily nutrition regimen. Your digestive system gets the boost it needs from the foods you consume; fiber makes everything work in peace and harmony.
Well, maybe it’s not that grandiose, but here’s the deal. Fiber helps your body do what it’s trying to do (process your foods) in a fast and effective way. It makes the process more efficient. When dietary fiber (as contained in foods as opposed to as contained in fiber supplements) is included in your meals, nutrients are better absorbed, and food wastes are more quickly and thoroughly eliminated from the body.
In case you’re wondering, that’s a good thing.
Here’s a quick rundown on the two types of fiber:
– Soluble fiber dissolves or reacts to water. It’s easy to remember foods that have soluble fiber because they swell and become sort of gelatinous or gooey (a technical term) when liquid is absorbed — *Think oatmeal, beans, flaxseeds, nuts, psyllium, many veggies, berries, and more.
– Insoluble fiber isn’t dissolvable. It creates bulk in the digestive tract and moves through the system pretty much unchanged. This is a good thing as it serves as “nature’s broom” to move foods efficiently and effectively through the body. *Think seeds, nuts, veggies (including many of the dark, leafy variety), raisins, other fruits, and more.
When it comes to fiber, think of the traffic cops who busily shoo a crowd away from the scene of an accident. They say, “Nothing to see, nothing to do, move along” until the crowd has dispersed. Dietary fiber does the same thing. It removes clogs, keeps things moving, and clears the scene.
I shouldn’t have to point out that efficient waste removal is extremely important. Foods that remain in the digestive tract longer than average (about 12 hours) can begin to putrefy and emit toxic gasses. No further description needed.
The perfect complement to fiber, by the way, is adequate clean, filtered, pure water. When increasing the amount of fiber in your diet, be sure to also increase your water consumption.
Did you happen to notice the similarities between the short food lists above? Many veggies and fruits contain both soluble and insoluble fiber. In apples and pears, for example, the soluble fiber is in the “flesh” of the fruit (the inside), and the insoluble fiber is in the peel. They work together beautifully, as nature intended. By including plenty of fresh veggies (and some fruits) in your meals, you can be assured that you’re getting adequate amounts of fiber. If you’re not overly sensitive to them, add nuts and seeds as well.
Also, did you notice that grains, for the most part, were missing from the food lists? While whole grains can be a good source of dietary fiber, I’ve omitted them from this discussion since so many health-challenged people are also sensitive to grains.
NOTE: A rose is a rose by any other name – or is it? While quinoa is often referred to and categorized as a grain, it’s actually a seed. Therefore, it may be better tolerated in your diet if you happen to be grain sensitive. And, on that same note, here’s another reminder. Corn is not a vegetable – it’s a grain. As it happens, it’s also near the top of the list of foods that cause or contribute to digestive problems.
Of course, fiber does more than just benefit the digestive system (although it all begins there). Fiber can be credited for keeping your tummy flat, keeping you feeling fuller longer, and keeping your skin looking youthful. Ready to go shopping?
Here’s a starter list of a few top fiber-rich foods: avocados, artichokes, berries, lentils, black beans, broccoli, pears, apples, oatmeal, pumpkin, spinach, eggplant, squash, peaches, cauliflower, asparagus, cabbage, and arugula.
How do you plan to incorporate more fiber into your meals?