Last night I dreamt I was pulling chicory out from the ground. It had just rained and they were yielding unbelievably long, thick roots. I wasn't sure what I wanted to write about today, but since I already covered Chicory I've decided to write about fiber and how important it is in the human diet.
Fiber, or roughage, is a non-nutritive substance found in the undigestible cellulose fibers of fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds. Animal products have absolutely no fiber whatsoever. The only way you can assure that you're getting plenty of dietary fiber from your diet is by eating a plant-based diet. That means 80% of your calories should be coming from fruits, vegetables, legumes, grains, nuts, and seeds. Most nutritionally-informed doctors recommend between 35 and 40 grams of fiber daily. If your diet is made up of 80% plant foods you are definitely getting the recommended amount, if not more. Inadequate amounts of fiber arise from an animal-based diet, overly processed foods, or both. Eggs and bacon for breakfast, a slice of pizza for lunch, and a burger and fries for dinner will lend less than 10g of fiber to your diet, but will offer you more saturated fat and refined carbohydrates than your body can handle.
Fiber is extremely important, considering what happens to certain foods when they sit for too long in the intestinal tract. Proteins will being to putrefy, carbohydrates will ferment, and fats will become rancid. Putrification leads to blood toxicity which an affect any organ and system of the body, fermentation leads to candida and excess belly fat, and rancid fats are carcinogenic and increase our risk for colon cancer. In fact, every time we eat a high amount of fat our gallbladder creates bile to emulsify the fat so that it can be properly digested. The by-product of bile production is known as a bile acid. These bile acids are extremely carcinogenic if they stay in the GI tract for too long. Fiber will bind them safely and remove them from the body in a timely manner, which is how fiber primarily reduces our risk of colon cancer. Someone suffering from chronic constipation for many years is at high risk for developing some type of cancer. A problem in the gut will always become a systemic problem, affecting other organs and systems in the body.
Fiber keeps the bowels moving waste out of the body before they have a chance to breakdown and become toxic. The bulk from fiber cleanses the colon, binds to heavy metals and wastes to remove them quickly from the GI tract, removes cholesterol and bile acids, and reduces the transit time of waste in the GI tract.
If you are overweight, eat a high fat diet, or are constipated you should immediately begin taking a fiber supplement three times a day with every meal you eat. Most fiber supplements lend around 5g of fiber per tablespoon, giving you an extra 15g of fiber per day.
I work, primarily, with nutrition. Therefore, I would recommend a diet full of whole fruits, whole vegetables, whole grains, raw unsalted nuts and seeds, and plenty of sea vegetables. If these foods make up, at least, 80% of your diet you have little to worry about in terms of fiber consumption.