The Role of Fiber in Your Diet

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 No Commented
Categorized Under: Nutrition

There are TV commercials, print ads and even ads on-line promoting products that contain fiber. Most of them are discreet about the reason it’s so important, but these products do more than just “keep you regular”.

Cholesterol: Cholesterol comes from two sources, what you eat and your own body. While there are medications that can cut down how much your body produces, using what you eat and drink is a better idea. Adequate intake can actually block your digestive system from absorbing it.
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Constipation: The commercials are right, if you have difficulties “going,” a boost in fiber intake can resolve the problem without harsh chemical (or herbal) laxatives. If you choose bulk fiber, there is a word of warning. Follow the instructions exactly, as you’ll need to have enough liquid in your diet to prevent problems.

Satiation: One of the hardest aspects of dieting is hunger. Filling foods can resolve that, though you’ll have to make sure they’re within your calorie budget. Watch out for products that have too much additional fat, cholesterol, sugar and sodium, as they can cause more problems than they solve.

Toxins: Some of what we eat is broken down in the body, and then eliminated either through urine or feces. Unfortunately, if your digestive track is not functioning properly, some of those toxins can be left behind. Fiber can do more than block cholesterol absorption, it can act as an intestinal broom and get the stuff out of your body.

If you absolutely cannot get enough of this necessary roughage, a supplement may be a good idea. There are many different products available. Some may even taste all right, but many of them tend to taste like cardboard. If you go the supplement route, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

Most bulk supplements can’t be taken with your medications, as it will block absorption. Take your medicines an hour before or two hours after your supplement. This will insure that you get the full benefits of both. No bulk laxative can be taken with licorice root. It can mess up your ability to use potassium, a necessary mineral.

To be honest, it’s best to get enough roughage from your food over a supplement. Whole grains and most fruits and vegetables contain a great deal, and adding them to your diet may mean you don’t need to take bulk products.

If you have any medical conditions or take medications, be sure to talk to your doctor about what is best for you in this area. This will help you avoid side effects and supplement/medication interactions.