I have a very close friend - let's call her Gloria - who is absolutely anal about maintaining a low carb diet. She is so painstakingly diligent when it comes to counting carbohydrates, that she won't eat an apple without peeling off the skin, and abhors my favorite sweet potatoes. She can go days without feasting her eyes on even a grain of brown rice.
And she can go days without pooping.
That's right people, Gloria is one pent up pal! She looks hot in her jeans, but feels ridiculously uncomfortable. If only she introduced the recommended 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories consumed, she would feel so, so much better.
Most of us, especially those of us on low-carb diets, aren't getting near the recommended amount of daily dietary fiber. And contrary to much popular belief, plant food carbohydrates are not the same as refined carbohydrates, and do not add into our daily calorie count the same way. Therefore, a bagel doesn't hold the same carb weight as, say, some fresh raw fruit. And dietary fiber is not digested by the body - so out it comes, fast!
Restricting refined carbs is a great way to slim down AND avoid spiking blood sugar - I approve. Restricting dietary fiber is one fast way to back up our digestive systems and bloat out - I disapprove!
Dietary fiber is so important to include in our diets, daily. It regulates and improves:
- Digestion Health: adding bulk to stool and drawing water into the digestive track. The nerves in the intestinal tract are stimulated, causing contractions in the colon (that "I gotta go!" feeling) and moving waste through quickly.
- Heart Health: Certain foods help to lower blood cholesterol and pressure, which decreases the risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Cancer: Moving things along down there keeps everything flowing. This may help to prevent colon and rectal cancers.
- Weight Loss: GLORIA! Women with high-fiber diets have lower body mass. Fiber helps us to fill up, so that we eat less. And it can also help prevent fat absorption.
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Women especially suffer from this ailment. An increase in dietary fiber can drastically improve symptoms, and is a main prescription for treatment.
And of course as you know, I am a huge proponent of fresh fruits and veggies in their most natural states. Raw or dried, they happen to be some of the best sources of dietary fiber! My Raw Goddess Guru Shazzie has some amazing recipes to share. Oh my yumminess.
At the very least, supplement your diet with psyllium husks! It's such an easy way to add the right kind of bulk.
Photo Credit: dandeluca