Facts and Benefits of Fiber
According to statistics, 62 million Americans are
affected by digestive concerns each year. The prevalence of some
digestive concerns such as constipation, increase with age or may
develop from factors like poor nutritional habits, dehydration,
stress, fatigue, or smoking. Fiber and water help.
The current average fiber intake is estimated at
about 12 grams per day, for American adults. Experts agree that
adults should consume 25 to 30 grams of fiber every day to maintain
good health and normal bowel function. Fiber aids the transit of
food through the intestines and provides an all-natural way to promote
regularity and colon health.
Foods rich in dietary fiber offer many health benefits.
These foods help with weight control, because they tend to be low
in fat and added calories. They also provide a full feeling, which
delays hunger. Foods rich in fiber can help in the management of
cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of heart disease. Diabetic patients
can benefit from a diet that includes fiber because it can slow
glucose absorption. Finally, as previously stated, fiber helps with
intestinal health and regularity.
Fiber is found in minimally processed plant foods
such as fruit, vegetables, and whole grains. Many people take fiber
supplements to speed intestinal transit time, increase bulk, and
provide relief from occasional constipation.
The Role of Enzymes
Before the human body has access to nutrients and
energy from foods, they must go through the digestion process. Digestion
is the process when food is broken down into smaller, useable units.
For the digestion process to work effectively digestive enzymes
are necessary. The body produces these enzymes on its own and also
receives them from the diet. If these enzymes are deficient, the
nutrients from food may pass through the digestive system without
being fully digested. Gas and bloating are the most common discomforts
associated with a decrease of enzymes.
Common enzymes are:
· Lipase which is found in fat.
· Amylase which is found in carbohydrates and sugars.
· Lactase which is found in milk and milk products.
· Pepsin which is found in protein.
A Livlier Liver
The liver is one of the largest and most active
organs in the body. It plays a critical role in regulating metabolism
and digestion and storing and releasing some nutrients.
As a key element of the digestion process, the liver, produces bile
to aid in the breakdown of fats in meals.
The liver performs a plethora of metabolic processes.
It synthesizes nonessential amino acids and breaks down excess amino
acids for energy production. During carbohydrate metabolism, the
liver can convert leftover glucose to glycogen for later use. Glycogen
is the stored form of glucose and is converted back to glucose when
the body needs it.
The liver also stores most vitamins and minerals
and helps in the detoxification process. As you can see the liver
is an extraordinary organ, vital to sustaining life.
There are a number of nutritional ingredients that
have been shown to support liver health. Here is a quick overview:
Milk Thistle- supports healthy liver function. Milk
thistle contains silymarin a complex of three flavonoids. Silymarin
is believed to be responsible for Milk Thistles health benefits.
Lecithin- may help the body to emulsify fat and
may help aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins and provides
dietary support for a healthy liver. Most lecithins are derived
SAMe- (s-Adenosyl-L-Methionine), helps to support healthy liver
Antioxidants-help to protect the body from free
radical damage. These special nutrients include vitamins A, C E
and beta-Carotene, as well as a number of other components.