The Importance of Fiber

By September 8, 2011Uncategorized

While visiting a friend in Aspen a few weeks ago, the topic of diet came up over dinner. Have you heard of the book, The China Study, I was asked? The book explores the eating habits and health status of the Chinese and other Asians. The “take-home” message is that the typical Chinese diet is high in fiber (and low in animal protein), suggesting this is the reason why the Chinese have a lower rate of heart disease, cancer and diabetes when compared to Americans. The World Health Organization recommends between 50-60 grams of fiber per day. Note: The typical American consumes about 5-10 grams/day, if that. Processed foods, junk foods, comfort foods and fast foods typically don’t contain fiber. And as one of my guest speakers in my Nutrition, Health and Performance course would say, “There is not a whole lot of fiber in iceberg lettuce, gals.”
Why is fiber (also known as roughage) so important? Fiber (cellulose tissue that cannot be digested) acts like a broom that cleans out the gastro-intestinal tract. As such, it helps flush out cholesterol, and various other substances (and toxins) that might otherwise be absorbed into the bloodstream. Fiber, it is believed, is the first line of defense in regulating blood sugar levels. The Standard American Diet (SAD) is filled with empty calories (and little fiber). The goal of each meal is to eat nutrient-dense foods, lots of fruits and veggies and only a small portion of protein. While the premise of the book, The Chine Study, promotes veganism (not necessarily the intent here), the message here is that we all need to eat more fiber in our diets, regardless.

Stress Tip for the Day:
Foods high in fiber include fruits and veggies (broccoli, carrots, kale, cabbage, and many legumes (garbanzo beans, black beans, kidney beans, etc.) and whole grains (such as quinoa) etc.). By no coincidence, these same foods contain a host of vitamins and minerals necessary for optimal metabolism. So what’s for dinner tonight? Think fiber! Eat Fiber!

Links/Books/Movies Worth Noting:

Like every diet book, there are advocates and critics. Here are two links, one of each as well as the book title itself.

Campbell, C., The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health. 2005.

Quote for the Day:
“Let food be your medicine and medicine be your foods.” — Hippocrates

Photo for the Day:
As part of a slide show I put together, called The Low Stress Diet, I went to Whole Foods one day and purchased a few bags of produce, including some cabbage for a photo-shoot. Afterward, I had one tremendous meal. Enjoy!

Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (7E) as well as the forthcoming book, A Beautiful World. He can be reached through his

© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.

Brian Luke Seaward

Author Brian Luke Seaward

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