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The Exciting Secrets of a High Fiber Diet

It’s encouraging to know that scientists are studying food and the role various parts of it play in our health. What they are discovering has led to significant breakthroughs regarding the vitally important mix of microorganisms, referred to in science as the microbiome, coexisting in the human body. These microscopic entities are crucial for influencing homeostasis in the body in areas of immunity, hormone production and metabolism. They depend on a constant and abundant supply of dietary fiber.  Fiber is the part of plant food that is indigestible by humans.

Researchers are learning how genetic expression is impacted by dietary choices, for benefit or detriment. Recent discoveries on fiber are turning the study of genetics on its head. Its effects on our microbiome are dramatic. A high-fiber diet is proven to help lower risk of early death by reducing the contributing factors for disease.

A low fiber diet rapidly increases inflammation in the gut and negative immune reactions. It also leads to increased blood sugar levels and weight gain, because chronic inflammation causes more of the calories we consume to be stored as fat instead of being used for energy.

We require adequate quantities of fiber in order for our bodies to function in a healthy way; it is irreplaceable. A daily intake of at least 25 g for women and 38 g for men is a starting point. Whole plant foods are our allies in achieving this goal. Getting adequate fiber is one of the many benefits of eating a plant-based diet. Plant foods provide a variety of types of fiber, while meat, eggs, dairy, refined flour products and fats provide none.

The Three Main Categories of Fiber:

Insoluble— Insoluble fiber is the tough hard-to-chew part of whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables. It does not absorb water. It acts as a broom to clean intestinal walls, provide bulk to a bowel movement and speed up transit time through the colon. It also helps control and balance the pH in the intestines.

Soluble – This fiber absorbs water creating a gel-like texture. It slows stomach emptying so that sugars are absorbed more slowly. It also binds with fatty acids and cholesterol. Some soluble fiber is consumed as food by our gut bacteria. Legumes, flaxseed meal, oats, onions, avocados, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, psyllium seeds and most fruits are good sources.

Resistant Starches (RS) – The least known by most people are starches (plant carbohydrates) that escape digestion in the small intestine. Once in the colon they act as a prebiotic, feeding our good bacteria via fermentation to create an abundance of highly beneficial butyrate.

Butyrate, a short chain fatty acid, is vitally important because it’s the main energy source of our colonic cells. It may be responsible for most of the RS-related benefits, such as:

Improved gut function and integrity, reduced leaky gut and fewer toxins getting into circulation.

Improved insulin sensitivity, reduced fasting blood sugar and fewer blood sugar spikes.

Increased satiety so that less food is consumed, and increased fat burning leading to weight loss

Aids damaged nerve cells to function again

Contributes to improved brain function and eye and kidney health

May bind and expel harmful bacteria, while feeding and encouraging the good ones.

Increased magnesium absorption

Prevent and fight cancer

Immune modulation and anti-inflammatory effect

Improved sleep though increased GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), and possibly by feeding serotonin-producing bacteria. Serotonin is converted into melatonin. The result is a feeling of mental calm.

An unhealthy microbiome and gut triggers allergies and childhood asthma. Fix the microbiome and the allergies will go away.

Examples of resistant starch foods:

  • Cassava (also called manioc, yucca root and tapioca)
  • Rutabaga
  • Parsnips
  • Turnips
  • Yucca
  • Taro roots
  • Sweet potatoes and yams
  • Jicama
  • Celery root
  • Glucomannan
  • Baobab fruit powder
  • Green mango
  • Green papaya
  • Green plantains
  • Green bananas
  • Persimmon
  • Chia seeds
  • Rice/sushi rice
  • Oats
  • Raw potato starch
  • Hi-maize® corn fiber

Cooking the starchy food alters the chemical bonds in the food. As the food cools, the bonds reform in a new design. The new structure of those bonds during the cooling process is what makes them resistant to being digested in the small intestine. This is why it is recommended to refrigerate after cooking those foods that must be eaten cooked (yams, rice, oats and cassava, for example).

Important: Your body’s reaction to increased amounts of RS will tell you a lot about the health of your gut. People with good gut function usually respond positively, while people with compromised guts will notice discomfort, bloating, cramping, gas, diarrhea, constipation or headaches, etc. These symptoms tell you that your gut needs help and is not the fault of the RS.

If you experience problems from increased RS there are three good options. The first and most important is to add probiotics. You can decrease the dose of RS to get acclimated. Get into the habit of getting RS from food instead of potato starch*.

People on low-carb, ketogenic, paleo or other restricted diets that are unable to consume a wide range of fruits, veggies and whole grains would benefit from daily supplementation with a fiber product that delivers multiple types of fiber and probiotics. Research proves that consuming a variety is most effective. Studies show that a low fiber/high fat diet causes almost immediate negative effects on the gut microbiome and overall blood flow. If you must do a low-carb diet please be sure to supplement daily with a fiber formula to make up for the lack of plant-based whole foods.

Make it easy to get your fiber. My favorite fiber supplement is Gastro-Fiber available from BIRI — 888-221-4116.

Healthy Habits® is here to support you to stay vitally healthy in order to live your happiest and most satisfying life. Thank you for sharing our articles and information with your loved ones. We pride ourselves on being a quality resource for you and your family.

Relevant Healthy Habits® Products:

  • Probiotic 14+ Super Strains contains a premium blend of strains formulated to give you results by working in both the small and large intestine! Plus, we include a prebiotic, which feeds and supports the good bacteria, something most companies ignore to save money. Click here to learn more.

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Welcome to Healthy Habits! Please note that this website is no longer active.
Visit us at HealthyHabits.com for product details and to place an order. Thanks!