Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): Rob
The under-consumption of unrefined plant foods in our diet has resulted in a low fiber intake. The standard American diet is highly lacking in fiber. Sadly, one-third of preschoolers have been found to be constipated. Nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day at a minimum are recommended. Fiber causes an increase in stool size, which has been associated with a decreased cancer risk, specifically colon cancer, as well as lower risk of ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, appendicitis, constipation, and diverticulitis.
A plant-based diet high in fiber can flush excess estrogen and cholesterol out of the system. This may help explain why high fiber intake is associated with reduced breast cancer risk. The target minimum fecal output is about half a pound a day. The amount of time it takes food to travel through the body perhaps ideally should be 24-36 hours. And at the same fiber intake, antioxidant rich foods reduce inflammation better than less nutrient-dense foods.
It used to be thought that fiber just passed through us with no effect other than providing bulk. However, it is now known that metabolites are actively produced by our gut bacteria that eat fiber. These compounds may have anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-obesity and blood sugar control effects. Fiber has also been found to bind nutrients, so if you juice, you are losing more than just the fiber. Smoothies on the other hand allows for greater absorption of nutrients, although depending on what is in the smoothie, disrupting the fiber may lead to a higher insulin spike.
Fiber intake also has possible benefits for hiatal hernia, brain loss, kidney stones, COPD, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, weight loss, improved immunity, and ultimately increased longevity, possibly because fiber may help mimic some of the benefits of calorie restriction.
Image Credit: Amanda Rae. This image has been modified.
Popular Videos for Fiber
All Videos for Fiber
How to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally with Lifestyle Changes
The effect of fasting to lower blood pressure compared to medications, cutting down on alcohol, meat and salt, eating more fruits and vegetables, or eating completely plant-based.
What the New Blood Pressure Range Guidelines Mean
Natural approaches to lowering high blood pressure can work better than drugs because you’re treating the underlying cause, and can end up having only good side effects.
Benefits of Flax Seeds for Inflammation
Elevated levels of pro-inflammatory, aging-associated oxylipins can be normalized by eating ground flax seed.
Trailer for How Not to Diet: Dr. Greger’s Guide to Weight Loss
17 ingredients to an ideal weight-loss diet and the 21 tweaks to accelerate the further loss of excess body fat.
Evidence-Based Weight Loss – Live Presentation
In his newest live presentation, Dr. Greger offers a sneak peek into his new book How Not to Diet.
Highlights from the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Hearing
I was honored to testify before the US government’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Check out the video to see my speech and a few of my favorite excerpts.
Are Keto Diets Safe?
The effects of ketogenic diets on nutrient sufficiency, gut flora, and heart disease risk.
The Best Diet for Colon Cancer Prevention
What would happen within just two weeks if you swapped the diets of Americans with that of healthier eaters?
Best Foods for Colon Cancer Prevention
A low-fiber diet is a key driver of microbiome depletion, the disappearance of diversity in our good gut flora.
Best Foods for Halitosis & Gingivitis
The best and worst foods for bad breath and gum inflammation.
How to Treat Periodontitis with Diet
Plant-based diets are put to the test in the treatment of periodontal disease.
Benefit of Dates for Colon Health
Seven dates a day for three weeks are put to the test in a randomized controlled trial.