We all know the benefits fiber has on keeping our digestive system healthy, however fiber can also offer us other health benefits. A fiber-rich diet helps control cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels and weight fluctuations. A diet high in fiber can reduce your risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and bowel disease.
High-fiber diets are very powerful, coupled with lots of water and increased activity they are simply the best way to lose weight and feel good. Recent studies have shown that a high intake of fiber from wholegrain such as oats, brown rice, natural muesli and wholegrain bread infection better elimination and this is associated with a significantly lower risk of developing digestive tract cancers. (such as mouth, esophagus, stomach and bowel.)
The health benefits of a fiber-rich diet can not only reduce the risk of cancer but also help prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, diverticular disease and anal fissures. These nasty complaints can often be the first signs of an unhealthy and toxic bowel and may pre-dispose you to further problems in the future. So do something about it today do not ignore the problems and prevent them from ever becoming chronic. Diverticular disease is common in people over the age of 40 in the UK, America, Canada, and Australia. It is rare in Africa and Asia – where people are more physically active and consume lots of fiber from brown untreated rice.
Over the counter laxatives are still among the highest selling pharmaceutical products in the UK along with ant-acids and painkillers. Regular laxative use should be strictly avoided because you will always need ever increasing amounts to achieve any effects as the bowel muscle becomes even more weaker than it already was in the first place.
In the western world many people over the age of 40 develop diverticular disease (small pouches that bulge out of weakened areas of the mucosa and sub-mucosal muscle layers of the colon wall – thought to be caused by increased pressure, secondary to chronic constipation) . If one or more of these pouches becomes inflamed or infected (diverticulitis) this can be extremely painful, can warrant hospital admission and treatment with intravenous antibiotics, and can, in some cases prove fatal.
So, why in the western world do we still seem to have a problem with a high-fiber diet? High-fat and heavily processed foods still form the main part of many thousands of Brits diets. In fact, even some so-called 'diet plans' promote such ready meals and convenience foods. No wonder these diets do not work and obesity is steadily increasing in the UK with more people than ever before turning to more radical solutions such as gastric bands and slimming pills.
Despite ongoing health campaigns trying to educate people about the importance of a nutritious diet, surveys show that many adults and children regularly eat less than the recommended amounts of fruits, vegetables, wholegrain and legumes. However, simply by changing your eating habits to include more fiber-rich foods, less fats and highly processed foods you will achieve a lot of the healthy eating goals all in one go!
If you are not used to eating fiber, introduce it slowly and increase water intake accordingly. If you eat a lot of fiber all at once and your colon is not used to it you could feel very windy! So like with most things it's all about balance, do not overdo it, ever you should be aiming to have a little bit of fiber with every meal.
So, look after your colon and indeed the rest of your digestive system. Do not ignore subtle changes that occur in your bowel habit such as reduced frequency of defecation or needing to strain more than usual – simply implement the steps I have iterated in this article.