The Fiber Factor
Thursday, October 27, 2016
In the Garden of Eden, God gave us a plant-based diet for our enjoyment and blessing. One of the most important aspects of this plant-based diet is fiber. High fiber foods include beans, legumes, whole grains, pasta, vegetables, fruits and nuts. Fiber satisfies without excess calories, which is great for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. High fiber intakes are associated with lower serum cholesterol concentrations, lower risk of coronary heart disease, reduced blood pressure, enhanced weight control, better glycemic control, reduced risk of certain forms of cancer, and improved gastrointestinal function. In fact, plant-based diets give us the lowest risk of cancer. Foods high in fiber provide a slower rise in blood sugar, requiring less insulin to process a meal. They also slow the emptying of food from the stomach, which slows the absorption of simple sugars into the small intestine.
Studies also support the benefits of a plant-based diet for children. Researchers reported on changing the nutritional content of school lunches served to 1.1 million New York City public school students to more wholesome, healthy diet. After just one year, a 16% increase in academic performance and a 41% decrease in the number of learning-disabled children were reported.
You might be surprised to know that fruits and vegetables are an incredible promoter of harmonious living. In a study of 8,000 teenagers at nine juvenile correctional facilities, researchers arranged to have diets high in sugar and other refined carbohydrates replaced with diets high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Amazingly, during the year in which the diets were changed, violent and antisocial incidents in the institutions decreased by almost half.
The American Heart Association recommends eating a variety of food fiber sources. Total dietary fiber intake should be 25 to 30 grams a day from food, not supplements. Currently, dietary fiber intakes among adults in the United States average about 15 grams a day. That's about half the recommended amount.