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Dr. John W. Phelts, D.C.

FIBER FOR HEALTH

 

Most people believe that the purpose of fiber in the diet is to bulk your stool. However, there are many other benefits to fiber.  Check them out below.

1.  Fiber Significantly Lowers Cholesterol

Research shows that adding a mere 10-25 grams of fiber a day to your diet can lower your cholesterol by 18%[1].  According to this research, if your cholesterol is 230, which is high, by adding adequate fiber to your diet, you can lower it to 180.  Wow, this is accomplished without medication.

2.  Fiber Helps Your Body Regulate Glucose Levels

If your body has difficulty utilizing sugar, which can be indicated by high glucose levels or Hemoglobin a1c on your blood exam, then you want to focus on getting enough fiber in your diet[2].

3.  Fiber Nourishes the Beneficial Bacteria in the Digestive System

When beneficial bacteria feed on fiber, they produce various vitamins for us including thiamine and folate.  Thiamine is necessary for the body to process glucose.  Folate is important for gut repair and regeneration.

These bacteria also produce short chain fatty acids (SCFA)[3].  SCFAs lower cholesterol, are anti-inflammatory, and decrease appetite. They also have anti-cancer effects by preventing and slowing the growth of cancer cells.

How Much Fiber Do You Need?

Women need 25 grams per day.  

Men need 38 grams per day.

It really depends on your calorie intake.  You should consume 14 grams of fiber for every 1000 calories you consume.

What Kind Of Fiber Should You Consume?

The short answer is many types.  Your fiber should come from vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seeds, and nuts.  I find that most of my patients do very well on flaxseeds (which must be ground or chewed) and chia seeds.

Slowly add different types of fiber to your diet.  If after eating a certain type of fiber your gut feels bloated or inflamed, then it means that it may be causing an imbalance in your gut flora, and you should reduce or stop consuming that particular fiber.  

If you are finding it difficult to consume the recommended amount of fiber, then you might want to purchase a fiber supplement.  I recommend BioFiber Complete by Biotics Research.  Many of my patients do very well on it.  It contains 10 different types of fiber, which is more than I have seen in any other fiber supplement.  It contains flaxseed, chia seed, fenugreek seed, beet fiber, bamboo fiber, apple fiber, apple pectin, acai berry, broccoli sprout, and kale sprout.

References:


  1. [1]
  2.  Zhou Q, Wu J, Tang J, Wang JJ, Lu CH, Wang PX. Beneficial effect of higher dietary fiber intake on plasma HDL-C and TC/HDL-C ratio among Chinese rural-to-urban migrant workersInt J Environ Res Public Health. 2015;12(5):4726–4738. doi:10.3390/ijerph120504726

[2] Riccardi G, Rivellese AA. Effects of dietary fiber and carbohydrate on glucose and lipoprotein metabolism in diabetic patients. Diabetes Care. 1991;14(12):1115-1125. doi:10.2337/diacare.14.12.1115

[3]

 den Besten G, van Eunen K, Groen AK, Venema K, Reijngoud DJ, Bakker BM. The role of short-chain fatty acids in the interplay between diet, gut microbiota, and host energy metabolism. J Lipid Res. 2013;54(9):2325-2340. doi:10.1194/jlr.R036012

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