|10-28-2008, 10:01 AM||#1|
N.Y State of Mind
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Bronx, New York
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Total Points: 2,820,011.12
The benefits of Fibre
FIBRE is a form of carbohydrate that the body is unable to digest and as such has no real, quantifiable nutritional value.
Indeed it is the part of plants (fruits, vegetables, lentils, beans and grains) that the body is unable to break down. Whilst fibre can be said to have no nutritional value, that does not mean fibre caries no benefits to the boxer, far from it.
Firstly fibre absorbs water and, as such, when present in faeces it makes the faecal matter softer and easier to pass through the digestive tract. This reduces how long the remnants of our meal stay in the system.
Given that humans have a long digestive tract relative to other meat-eating species and that carcinogens (cancer promoting substances) are produced when some foods, especially meat, break down, this increased transit time is incredibly important.
These carcinogens can promote infection and, potentially cancerous, cell changes. A low fibre diet can increase the time that food spends in the digestive tract by 300 per cent. Adequate intake of dietary fibre has been shown to dramatically reduce the risk of developing bowel and colon cancer.
It is estimated that the risk of developing colon cancer can be reduced by 30 per cent. Furthermore, it has been observed that rural Africans, who have an average fibre intake of 55g compared to 22g in the UK, have the lowest incidence of bowel cancer.
Fibre may also help in preventing heart disease. The soluble forms of fibre in beans, oat bran, legumes and two common food ingredients, pectin and guar gum, have been shown to hold down cholesterol levels. Also, if you are looking to lean up for your upcoming fights, increasing your intake of fibre might just pay dividends.
Firstly fibre ‘bulks’ up food, yet delivers no calories to the body, and thus should keep you feeling fuller for longer on fewer calories. This feeling of fullness, or satiety, is further enhanced by the fact that fibre in a meal will slow the rate at which sugars and carbohydrates enter the blood stream, in effect lowering the glycaemic index (GI) of the meal, stabilising blood sugar levels.
The article discussing the importance of GI to athletes should show you the benefits of eating low GI meals in your general diet. Suffice to say it is likely that you will be less sluggish, have a dramatically reduced risk of developing diabetes, reduce hunger pangs and binge sessions, sleep more soundly and see that spare tyre reduce.
Here are a few tips for easily increasing your intake of dietary fibre:
• Always take the wholegrain and wholemeal options of foods such as bread, rice and pasta.
• Substitute refined, sugary breakfast cereals for bran or wheat-based options such as All-Bran, Sultana Bran, Bran Flakes or Shredded Wheat.
• Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (as you should be anyway), especially crunchy ones.
• Cooking fruit and vegetables tends to break down the fibre contained within them. Ideally try not to overcook fruit and veg; leave it a bit crunchy, and eat plenty raw also.
• Ensure a full variety of fruits, vegetables, lentils, beans and grains to get the full spectrum of types of fibre available.
• Try to get a total of 40g of fibre every day.
As with all things good there are potential concerns to be aware of. Firstly it is important to get fibre from food and not add pure wheat bran as a supplement to other food as it contains high levels of ‘phytate,’ a substance that reduces the absorption of essential minerals, including zinc.
Secondly, too much fibre or too sudden an increase in fibre intake can lead to flatulence and diarrhoea. Lastly, in some people a high fibre intake can exacerbate gastrointestinal complaints.
Waste in the body can become a burden and potentially life-threatening explains Phil Nourse (Internal Cleansing)
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