Fiber is Fire
Fiber – what do you know about it? My assumption is that you know it makes you uh-hmm, well…poop. And you are 100% correct. Fiber makes you poop! In addition to keeping you regular, fiber is crucial to a healthy mind, body and soul.
Did you know that you carry 39 TRILLION microorganisms in your colon…39 trillion! Did you also know that beyond the wall of your intestine sits 70 percent of your immune system? Did you also know that brain health actually starts in the gut — and that’s because the brain and gut are in constant communication with each other! The gut is a separate nervous system that has been called the “second brain” or the “enteric nervous system.” Crazy enough, 90 percent of serotonin and 50 percent of dopamine (neurotransmitters that play a powerful role in our mood) are actually produced in the gut! There is a tremendous overlap between irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and depressed mood and anxiety! Okay okay… I’m getting excited. Let’s stay focused…
Why Fiber? How can this help with gut and inevitably brain health?
Fiber is considered a complex carbohydrate. Fiber remains unblemished as it passes through your mouth, esophagus, stomach and even fifteen to twenty feet of small intestine so by the time it reaches your colon, it’s the same molecule that went into your mouth.
We humans lack the ability to process fiber by ourselves, our gut bacteria break down the fiber to produce what may be the most healing nutrient in all of nature – short chain fatty acids!
There are three main types of short chain fatty acids – acetate, propionate and butyrate. These three work together for the good of your health. Short chain fatty acids first make the colon more acidic which prevents the growth of inflammatory, pathogenic bacteria (the “bad” bacteria) – by suppressing the inflammatory microbes, short chain fatty acids are helping to restore balance. The fiber you consume is feeding the healthy microbes and the microbes are multiplying!
Short chain fatty acids have the following health benefits:
- repair leaky gut
- reverse bacterial endotoxemia
- optimize immune system
- reduce your risk of developing cancer
- lower body weight
- lower total cholesterol
- lower systolic blood pressure
- improve learning and memory
- interfere with the formation of amyloid plaques – one of the hallmarks in the brain of Alzheimers disease
Believe it or not, with all of these benefits of fiber, less than three percent of Americans get even the recommended minimum daily intake.
If you want fiber, there’s only one way to get it, and I’m not taking Metamucil, fiber one bars or things like that – I’m talking about PLANTS! If you want the benefits listed above – think a DIVERSITY of plants.