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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 from soy.
SAMe- (s-Adenosyl-L-Methionine), helps to support healthy liver metabolism.

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.

(c) 2002 Sociedad Española de Medicina Antienvejecimiento y Longevidad

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