Dietary Fiber: How Does it Affects Weight and Diseases?

Are you looking for easier solution to maintain your weight and keeping a healthy body? Have a healthy lifestyle by choosing high-fiber foods in your daily meals and snacks.

Dietary fiber can be found mainly in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes-- is probably best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation.

So, if you have problems in constipation or other health problems... try eating high-fiber foods naturally or by using supplements... it's your choice.

Dietary Fiber: How Does it Affects Weight and Diseases?

The vital role and health benefits of dietary fiber for our body Basics of Nutrition Food is one of the basic human wants. It is what the human body needs. But food intake is also one of the main reasons that give people in our modern society the link to a number of health problems and disorders. The reason is generally people failed to choose the kind of foods that would supply good nutrition in the body. Hence, there is a need for us to understand the principles of good nutrition. According to James F. Balch M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C. in their book "Prescription for Nutritional Healing", good nutrition is the foundation of good health. Everyone needs the four basic nutrients such as water, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats-- as well as vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients. The Wikipedia defines nutrient as either a chemical element or compound used in an organism's metabolism or physiology. Our human body is a complex organism that really needs good maintenance and care in order to have healthy components and parts. Well, some says that our body is like a machine that is to be taken cared of properly. Like ... please handle with care. So to speak that we need to be wise and smart in choosing foods and to better understand the importance of buying foods in its healthiest forms of these basic nutrients as it would greatly affect our body to function at its optimal level. Let us know first how important are these basic nutrients in our body. Basic Nutrients: * Water. We know that our human body is composed of two-thirds water. Therefore, water is elemental in every function of the body. It gives a medium for chemical reactions to take place, and is the main part of blood. It keeps the body temperature the same by sweating from the skin Water helps blood carry nutrients from the stomach to all parts of the body to keep the body alive. Water also helps the blood carry oxygen from the lungs to the body. Saliva helps animals and people digest food. Water helps make urine. Urine helps remove bad chemicals from the body. The human body is 60–70% water. (Source * Carbohydrates supply the body with the energy it needs to function. They are the main source of blood glucose, which is the major fuel for all of the body's cells and the only source of energy for the brain and red blood cells. Except for fiber which cannot be digested, both simple and complex carbohydrates are converted into glucose. (Source: Balch & Balch, Prescription for Nutritional Healing) * Proteins are large molecules built from small units known as amino acids, commonly affiliated with meat or muscle. They are used for growth and repair, as well as for strengthening the bones. They help to make tissue and cells. They can be found in animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, and also in the human body. For example, muscles contain a lot of proteins. Body builders will eat foods with a lot of protein as an easy way to keep or gain high levels of muscles that is safer than taking steroids. Proteins form an important part in foods like milk, eggs, meats, fish, beans, and nuts. Animals eat proteins to get energy and amino acids. These amino acids are used to build new proteins that are used as enzymes, hormones, or antibodies. Protein is also very healthy and keeps you strong and makes your bones last. Proteins are essential for life. (Source: Fat is the most popular of these basic nutrients since everyone is focused on the need to reduce dietary fat-- yet the body does need it; especially during infancy and childhood. Fat is necessary for normal brain development. So throughout life, fat is essential to provide energy and support growth. These are facts! However, this is where the problem comes in because excessive fat intake is a major cause and key factor of obesity and overweight health issues which are linked to various health problems such as high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, colon cancer, and other health disorders. * Micronutrients: Vitamins and minerals. Like water, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats vitamins and minerals are also essential to life. They are therefore considered nutrients and are often referred to as micronutrients simply because they are needed in relatively small amounts compared with the four basic nutrients. (Source: Balch & Balch, Prescription for Nutritional Healing) Understanding the above basic principles we must put emphasis on the application of proper nutrition and proper diet. Speaking of diet, there is where the importance of choosing foods that contains good nutrients which control our dietary fat intake. How to determine a healthy weight? According to the Mayo Clinic, a person's weight is healthy if it falls within the acceptable range for his or her height and age. Three basic approaches to weight management through nutritional supplementation (Source: Balch & Balch, Prescription for Nutritional Healing) 1. Use of diuretic herbs and nutrition to reduce retention. 2. Use of lipotropic vitamins, which have the ability to reduce cholesterol and fat. 3. Use of natural appetite suppressants. So, with these basic approaches, you can have your pick, if you want to use nutritional supplementation. There is where fiber comes in. Facts about Fiber: (Source: Betty Kamen, New Facts about Fiber) * Health Builder * Disease Fighter * Vital Nutrient Health benefits: (Source: Mayo Clinic ( Dietary fiber is found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. It is probably best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation. But fiber can provide other health benefits as well, such as lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Dietary fiber is also known as roughage or bulk, includes all parts of plant foods that your body can't digest or absorb. Unlike other food components such as fats, proteins or carbohydrates--which your body breaks down and absorbs--fiber isn't digested by your body. Therefore, it passes relatively intact through your stomach, small intestine, and colon and out of your body. It might seem like fiber doesn't do much, but is has several important roles in maintaining health. Two categories of fiber: * Insoluble fiber. This type of fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, whole-grain, corn bran, nuts and seeds, potato skins, flax seed, lignans, and many vegetable are good sources of insoluble fiber. * Soluble fiber. This type of fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Soluble fiber is found in oats, rye, chia, legumes (peas, soybeans, and other beans), apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley, psyllium and other fruits and fruit juices. The amount of each type of fiber varies in different plant foods. To receive the greatest health benefit, eat a wide variety of high-fiber foods. How much fiber do we need? (source: How much fiber do we need each day? The National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine, which provides science-based advice on matters of medicine and health, gives the following daily recommendations for adults. Age 50 and younger Age 51 and older Men 38 grams 30 grams Women 25 grams 21 grams Dietary fiber is found in plants. While all plants contain some fiber, plants with high fiber concentrations are generally the most practical source. (Source: Fiber-rich plants can be eaten directly. Or alternatively, they can be used to make supplements and fiber-rich processed foods. Best Fiber choices (source: *Grains and whole grain product *Fruits *Vegetables *Beans, peas and other legumes *Nuts and seeds Refined or processed foods--such as canned fruits and vegetables and pulp-tree juice, white bread and pasta, and non-whole-grain cereals--are lower in fiber content. The grain-refining process removes the outer coat (bran) from the grain, which lower its fiber content. Similarly, removing the skin from fruits and vegetables decreases their fiber content. Whole foods rather than fiber supplements are generally better. Fiber supplements--such as Metamucil, Citrucel and Fibercon--don't provide the vitamins, minerals and other beneficial nutrients that high-fiber foods do. However, some people may still need a fiber supplement if dietary changes aren't sufficient, or if they have certain medical conditions such as constipation, diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome. Always check with your doctor if you feel you need to take fiber supplements. Mechanism (source: The main action of dietary fiber is to change the nature of the contents of the gastrointestinal tract, and to change how other nutrients and chemicals are absorbed. Soluble fiber binds to bile acids in the small intestine, making them less likely to enter the body; this in turn lowers cholesterol levels in the blood. Soluble fiber also attenuates the absorption of sugar, reduces sugar response after eating, normalizes blood lipid levels and, once fermented in the colon, produces short-chain fatty acids as byproducts with wide-ranging physiological activities (discussion below). Although insoluble fiber is associated with reduced diabetes risk, the mechanism by which this occurs is unknown. Not yet formally proposed as an essential macronutrient, dietary fiber is nevertheless regarded as important for the diet, with regulatory authorities in many developed countries recommending increases in fiber intake. Dietary fiber functions & benefits (Source: Dietary fiber functions and benefits Functions * Adds bulk to your diet, making you feel full faster * Attracts water and turns to gel during digestion, trapping carbohydrates and slowing absorption of glucose * Lowers total and LDL cholesterol * Regulates blood sugar * Speed the passage of foods through the digestive system * Balance intestinal pH and stimulates intestinal fermentation production of short-chain fatty acids Benefits: * May reduce appetite * Lowers variance in blood sugar levels * Reduces risk of heart disease * May reduce onset risk or symptoms of metabolic syndrome and diabetes * Facilitates regularity * Alleviates constipation * May reduce risk of colorectal cancer Benefits of a high-fiber diet (Source: Mayor Clinic, *Normalizes bowel movements. Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation. If you have loose, watery stools, fiber may also help to solidify the stool because it absorbs water and adds bulk to stool. For some, fiber may provide relief from irritable bowel syndrome. * Helps maintain bowel integrity and health. A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids, and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease). Some fiber is fermented in the colon. Researchers are looking at how this may play a role in preventing diseases of the colon. * Lowers blood cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or "bad," cholesterol levels. Epidemiologic studies have shown that increased fiber in the diet can reduce blood pressure and inflammation, which is also protective to heart health. * Helps control blood sugar levels. Fiber, particularly soluble fiber, can slow the absorption of sugar, which for people with diabetes can help improve blood sugar levels. A diet that includes insoluble fiber has been associated with a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. * Aids in weight loss. High-fiber foods generally require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when you're no longer hungry, so you're less likely to overeat. Also, a high-fiber diet tends to make feel larger and linger, so you stay full for a greater amount of time. High-fiber diet also tends to be less "energy dense," which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food. How dietary fiber affects weight? According to Betty Kamen in her book "New Facts about fiber" study shows that: We ingest more food when fiber is removed in the foods we ate. The reason is removing dietary fiber from a natural high-carbohydrate food dumps too much sugar into your blood, causing production of too much insulin. Example in apple juice, it causes weight gain because fiber doesn't exist in apple juice. Here is the important part: Too much insulin initiates communication between the enzyme (in the fat tissue) and your brain. Insulin is the key to getting glucose into your cells. Glucose supplies your cells with fuel to do its work, to keep you alive, to give you energy. It is your fuel for both immediate and future needs. Without glucose, your body will not move. But when glucose is absorbed beyond certain rate, the ability of your liver to store the glucose (as glycogen) for future use is exceeded, and the surplus is converted to fat. Refined carbohydrates are responsible for much of our obesity. Is it the high percentage of sugar or the lack of fiber? As the song goes, you can't have one without the other. Fiber blocks the absorption of fat-- and hence--- calories in the intestines. The more the product is refined, the more fiber is removed, and the less "fat-blocking" occurs. Is exercise always the answer to weight loss? Is the lack of exercise the cause of our obesity epidemic in the first place? Is it the reason for the overweight problems? Well, study shows according to Betty Kamen that we are not always overweight because of lack of exercise. Exercise is a factor; exercise is beneficial; exercise helps you to absorb nutrients more efficiently; and yes, you will lose weight if you exercise to the degree that you "use up" more than you "take in." But the amount of movement to accomplish that goal is hard to come by, and exercise is not the only ingredient. Fiber and satiety (Source: Betty Kamen "New Facts of Fiber") Study shows that slowed transit through your mouth and stomach (the area of your body where unhurried transit is good) may delay nutrient absorption and produce a sensation of satiety. I can relate a personal experience about this for example eating whole a piece of apple with skin... during fasting... my husband and I sometimes choose Daniel's fast and apple is one of our favorite fruits. The thing is... after eating half of the apple with skin... I felt full satisfied. I think it is not only the chewing that does it. Though chewing has contributed to it. Eating apples without skin is easier than eating apples with skin. (smile). I even told my husband one time... apples are really good for the body... it is just tiresome to chew... (That was our joke). Chewing is not the entire explanation according Betty Kamen, the study shows that the water-holding properties of fiber make your gut contents bulkier, and this distension of your stomach and small intestine induces satiety. Another possibility is that fiber changes the pattern of your hormone release, thereby preventing low blood sugar, which contributes to hunger signals. With these facts from variety of sources about dietary fiber, hopefully you can adopt your own lifestyle of eating rich-fiber foods (especially raw foods). That is the best way to slow your eating pace. It might be difficult though especially with the fast-lane-world where is everything is high-tech food preparation. Who is the expert to say what form of fiber is best? But we know already the facts... it is for us to decide. Concentrated fiber preparations are effective for weight loss provided the closes consumed are large enough. The availability of fiber supplements reflect transitions that have come about because we are learning how to link nutrition and health. One thing is certain: The higher the percentage of fiber in your diet, the lower the tape-measure reading around your waist. (Source: New Facts about Fiber, Betty Kamen) Another fact, the relationship between the stimulation of insulin and weight gain has been confirmed time and again. Appetite or subjective feelings of hunger are connected with low blood glucose levels. Since dietary fiber helps to "quiet" insulin reactions, which in turn stabilizes glucose levels, consuming dietary fiber is a metabolic advantage in terms of weight stability. (Source: New Facts about Fiber, Betty Kamen) I have attached here the Mayo Clinic healthy weight pyramid, it was very useful to me... it might be useful to you to maintain your weight and good health too.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Christmas Tribute to my Father

nullnullIt was Christmas day, December 25, 2009, Clearwater Florida. Early in the morning, we have practiced to thank God for all of His mercy and unfailing love before we start our day. We also prayed for the family, our friends, the churches, and our nations. I even shouted "Happy Birthday Jesus!" Never in my imagination that this morning will become the most memorable morning... and will be the most painful and unforgettable morning of my life... because just a moment after our prayer... I read the text message of my kid sister which says, "Papa is dead...”

I had a mixed feeling of reaction. I was not able to say a word. I tried to digest what that message means. I even told my husband calmly that my father is dead. Then, I suddenly felt the very strong emotion of pain. It seems that my heart was pierced with a sword. It registered to my mind then. Papa is dead. I cried out with a loud voice. I cried like a child being left by his mother. I shouted with a crying voice like a child who was lost in the middle of the nowhere. I cried and cried. The tears will not stop falling. The pain does not want to go away. The only words I uttered... "O My God...! O My God! Have mercy on us!" I did not know if I prayed right at that moment. My mind was so blank. I did not only felt the pain of losing my father, but I also felt the pain of being so far away from him. Ten thousand miles away... I could not even embrace him or give him a hug for the last time. I felt so restless! But I could not blame God. Though my heart was so sad and in so much pain... there was a small voice that sings the song that I did not even remember the lyrics. It was a song that gives glory to God which I remembered later when I calmed down. It is the song of salvation. "Savior, he can moves the mountain... my God is mighty to save, Jesus is mighty to save... forever, author of salvation, Jesus is mighty to save... Jesus is mighty to save..."

The more I cried when I heard this song in my heart. I felt like exploding in my grief. I cried out loud calling "Jesus! Help me!" He did. I sat there... with the tear flowing in my eyes... I did not know how many hours I sat on the couch... my husband was there with me... trying to comfort me in silent gesture. After a while... I started to feel the peace again in my heart. I stop crying and started to pray.

In my prayer, I thank God for this wonderful gift of salvation for my father. It was a very unusual gift. Of all the time to leave... my father choose to leave at Christmas day. But we know very much that my earthly father has no choice. That is just a way of saying just to give reason why he died on Christmas day.

My heart is in pain, but I am also happy that my father left with a peaceful heart in the Lord. So, this hub is a tribute to man who is not even well known. He was just a very ordinary man, no riches, no fame. Yet, he was a man of principle and a very intelligent man. He does not have any degree but he was a smart man. He is an optimist. For him, everything is possible if you have the courage and the will to do it. I remember when I was a child, he taught me how to write and read. Together with my mother, they raised me and my siblings, teaching us the virtues of honesty, fear in the Lord and honoring our parents and elders. One of the most important family values that my father adheres is RESPECT. He said you cannot buy respect with money. You have to earn it. He said... if a man wanted to be respected then, he should learn to respect himself first. If you want honor then work for that honor. Respect and honor are free to give, but you have to earn it the way you earn respect and the honor you deserves.

I remember how some of the great politicians in his early days come to him for support. I remember how he helped neighbors in times of sorrows. There was even a time when I told my father... "It seems that you are the coffin maker now Papa...I doubt if you will have the same favor when you die."

He just smiled at replied: "I don't need to be paid for the only thing that I can help. If they will remember me... when I die... that will be good but if not... God knows that I just do what I can do to help in the simplest way."

These are just some of the things I remembered and learned from my father. There are a lot of things I wanted to say which he could not hear anymore. Things that no matter what I do will not matter anymore for him. I wanted to say to him that even if he was not able to give us the financial support he was supposed to give because of his being sickly, I am proud of him. I wanted to say that He is a great father. I wanted to tell him that he had taught me a lot about the struggle of life. I learned how to fight for my right and to live with strong faith in the Lord. I learned from him how to value friendship and loyalty. I learned from him and my mother how to value a family. I wanted to tell him that he is not a liability but an asset to us for he is a blessing to us from the Heavenly Father. I wanted to tell him that we wanted to see him alive and that we need him. I wanted to tell him that we love him no matter what his faults are.

I wanted to tell him that I fully understand now that I am a parent that the love of a father or a mother is not measured in terms of the material things they can provide but in the love that they have given to their children.

He had been hospitalized 2 weeks ago. He was already feeling well. I talked to him on the phone. I told him I love him and asked forgiveness for all the things I said or done in the past that hurt him as a father. He cried that time. He said... he loves me and that I don't have to ask forgiveness... there is nothing to forgive. He was the same father that I have known since when I was a child... a father who always comforts us.

My father and I were best friends but we also argued a lot. We argued but we never had a grudge against each other. He showed an example to us that in a family, no matter what the situation is... the family is always a family. That is one of his legacies to us. He never hates us. He never gives any indication that he felt a conflict towards us. He was always the loving father. One of things I will miss... the way my father cooks for us. I love his cooking.

When I was born again, I thought he would be angry with me... then I talk to him about Jesus and he understands. He was hungry about God. There were mornings when he will knock at my door and ask if I have lingzhi coffee. Then we will have coffee together, and we will talk about God and the holy bible.

All of these things now are memories.

The only thing that gives me consolation is that God had given him a dispensation of grace. When he was taken to the hospital, they thought he would die that day. The doctor gave him 24 hours. In the morning, he recovered and was able to talk with my mother, my siblings, nieces, and nephews. He was very happy on Christmas Eve. The family visited him in the hospital. My niece read the email I sent with the prayer and Psalm 23. I thought that was a miracle that he had lived from that worst night. I was so happy then. I said to God, "Well Lord, I am sure you have a purpose for Papa. I thank you for this miracle."

Then twenty minutes after that happiness... some of the family went home especially those with small babies. They were just surprised when the hospital called telling them to come immediately... papa is getting worse. He could not breathe. The doctors were trying their best to save papa. But it was no use. They just found out... he had cancer of the lungs. That was a bomb shell to all of us. But what really hit us... the doctor told mama... to be ready to accept the reality because papa has no more chance to live. In a minute or two... we will lose him.

He did. He died in the arms of my mother. He died with a smile on his face. He died peacefully. He did not even felt any pain. He died on Christmas day. What a day to leave us! But does he have any choice?

Can I say it is unfair for him to die on Christmas day? Can I say he should have taken care of his lungs so he will not have that cancer thing? Who is to blame?

No, there is nobody to blame. Death is victory in Christ Jesus. But I could not help feeling so sad. It was so painful. My heart is bleeding with grief.

Papa started smoking when he was nine years old that was when he lost his mother and run away from home. Since then, he was drinking and smoking until the age of fifty-three. He quit smoking but little we know that the cancer had already been developed in his lungs. If only... if only... but that is only "if".

So for my Papa:

I know you are with the Lord Jesus. Your prayers are not in vain for even in your sleep, God has shown you his glory. He gave you a smile in your face, a glow in your picture that gives life even to your lifeless body. Jesus is very much alive in you. I just wish that I was there to say farewell to you.

You are right Papa, life is a journey. You said that the miracle that you had been waiting for has already come. We did not understand that you are just waiting for Jesus to come for you. You might not be the perfect father as you think but for us, your children... we are proud of you. I thank God for you and mama. It is very hard Papa. I am supposed to be happy because you come home to our Abba Father. But I am really very sad and in deep pain because I will miss. We will miss you papa. We will not be able to see your smile again. No more Papa who will tease us asks for a Christmas gift.

The things that you have taught us papa will never be forgotten. We will continue to live as a good example like you said of being a good person, a good neighbor, a good friend, and most of all a good Christian.

The people might be able to understand why we love you so much. But only your family aside from God who knew what kind of man you are.

I pray too, that your life might be a good example to your grandchildren especially those who smoke and who drinks alcohol.

Farewell Papa, I will not say goodbye because I know we are going to see you in heaven. We love you and your memories will always be in our hearts. How can we forget? You come home to Jesus on his birthday! It was a kind of grand welcome for you Papa. You were asking for his peace and miracle... you got it with a bonus big time!

It just hurts not to see you again...!

To all people who smoke too... smoking really kills. Quit while you still have time. Quit before it is too late. I remember my father saying that he is not proud that he had done that in the past. He was saying that to his grandchildren too. He does not want them to abuse their body especially their lungs.

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