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whole grains
lower cholesterol
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The Miracle Of Fiber
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The Miracle Of Fiber

Fiber is a plant-derived carbohydrate that comes in two forms: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water while insoluble fiber does not. Neither soluble nor insoluble fiber is digested by the body but it has been confirmed that when consumed in sufficient quantities fiber (both soluble and insoluble) benefits the body in many ways. According to the American Heart Association an individual should consume at least 25 grams of fiber a day.

All plant-based foods contain some fiber but the highest amounts of fiber are found in whole grains and vegetables. Diets that include servings of whole wheat bread, brown rice, wheat cereal, wheat bran, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, beets and other similar grains and vegetables should provide all the fiber your body needs on a daily basis.

Given that neither soluble nor insoluble fiber is digested by the body what are the benefits of including fiber as a part of your diet? Fiber has many health benefits:

1. Fiber helps the digestive system to function smoothly by serving as a natural laxative that helps to cleanse the system and keep the colon healthy.

2. Fiber helps to control blood sugar levels. Because fiber is digested slowly it helps to moderate the rate at which sugar levels rise in the body. Low sugar levels prevent spikes in insulin. Constant high levels of insulin could lead to complications such as diabetes.

3. Weight control: Because fiber adds bulk to your diet without increasing calories it makes you feel fuller quicker and since the digestion of fiber is slow, intervals between meals are extended. Eating less means you are better able to control your weight.

4. Fiber may also help to lower triglycerides and cholesterol. It is believed that since you consume less with a high fiber diet, triglycerides are maintained at lower levels. Similarly since high fiber consumption tends to minimize fat consumption, high cholesterol levels may also be mitigated.

5. Lower triglycerides and lower cholesterol levels help you to better control your blood pressure.

6. Given that fiber helps to control triglycerides, cholesterol and blood pressure, it should be stated that the overall risk of developing cardiovascular disease also decreases.

Because fiber has been found to be so important in maintaining good health many companies are now adding fiber to their products but the best fiber is found in natural foods. Grains, vegetables and selected fruits when eaten regularly will provide all the fiber your body needs. Although it makes good sense to choose items that are high in fiber when grocery shopping, there is hardly any need to purchase fiber supplements. Just ensure that you eat the right diet each day and you will reap all the health benefits fiber provides.


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