Dietary fiber also called roughage includes plants, fruits, vegetables, legumes and parts of whole grains that the body cannot fully digest. It passes through the digestive tract mostly undigested until it reaches the colon or large intestine where it is fermented by gut bacteria. Fiber is further divided into soluble fiber that gets dissolved in water and forms gel like substance and is found in foods like oats, peas, fruits etc and insoluble fiber that stays unchanged during digestion but promotes movement in digestive tract and is found in foods like nuts, whole wheat flour, vegetables like cauliflower, green beans etc.
A lot of us do not consume more than 5-10 grams of fibre a day, whereas the ideal amount to consume for a healthy digestion is around 35 grams a day. So why is fiber so important to our body?
Think of your body as a building. The structure of the building is made up of muscle and bones and the intestines ,stomach, colon, etc.are the plumbing. So fibre is important not because it’s needed by your cells per se. Your muscle cells or your organs don’t really utilize fibre directly, but your pipeline inside – your stomach, your small intestines, your large intestines and your colon – these are the things that really need fibre. Although we are not made up of fibre, fibre plays a very essential role, and here is how.
When you consume fibre, you’re basically increasing the amount of nutrient absorption through your small intestines. Whatever we eat, it has to digest first– it has to break down into smaller particles – these particles travel to your small intestine. Your small intestine acts as a filter, which allows these nutrients to permeate into your blood. So small intestine is like a pipe, which basically holds the food inside and allows nutrients to permeate through its membrane.
Now over many years of eating a lot of low fibre food, the intestine becomes like a greasy pipe, just like if you would open up the plumbing of your old wash basin, you will see a lot of old accumulated black mass on the insides of the pipes.That’s the same thing happening to our small intestines as well. The intestines are processing food on a regular basis and after many years of eating less fibre, your intestinal walls will also become very greasy and very dirty and what it does is, it reduces the permeability. So the nutrients that are there in your small intestines, cannot pass through the membrane because of this greasy gooeytoxic stuff. There is something that is needed to scrape this off and that is where fiber comes in.
When you consume fibre, the property of any fibre is that it bulks up 20 times its volume. So say you take about 10 grams of fiber, it bulks up to about 200 grams in volume. It does that by absorbing water,its hydrophilic. It absorbs water, and it bulks up. So when you consume a little bit of fibre say 10-20 grams and you consume water on top or there is water in your system, it starts absorbing that water and it turns into this big rough mass hence the term roughage. Basically, it’s like a big rough mass which goes through your intestines. So while it is traveling through your intestines, it scrapes them clean. So all the intestinal walls that have been dirty for so long, slowly over a period time due to the presence of adequate fiber in the system, arescraped clean and now because of that, the permeability of nutrients becomes really good. So whatever you eat starts getting absorbed much better.
Another important phenomenon also occurs here. The small intestine holds a lot of cholesterol particles, and this fibre also cleans out those cholesterol particles andflushes them out.
Your pipeline becomes squeaky clean there by improving nutrient absorption and overall health.Your body gets better at getting rid of all the toxic waste due to the fiber . So youdon’t really need a special detox diet or a detox tea or some protocol which is very extreme. All you need do is add enough fiberto your dieteveryday. So be sure to include a lot of green vegetables like leafy greens, broccoli, beans or any other vegetable to every meal. Ensure that you get around 30 grams of fiber a day minimum. Start slowly and build up to this level gradually.
You can also take psyllium huskonce or twice a day ,psyllium is basically a plant and the husk of that particular plant is a verygood source of fiber . You can buy it a pharmacy or supermarket. Buy organic if you can.
Start having about 1 tablespoon at night,with about 300ml of water . Have it as the last thing before bed and do that for about 5-6 days and see how you feel. You will notice a big difference in your well being and energy levels. So do your body a favour and start eating fiber.