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Dietary fibers the best medication for bowel diseases

Posted May 07 2009 9:22pm

Physicians have contended for several decades that it does not matter whether a person has one or two bowel movements a day or only two or three a week. Now that view has been challenged by medical scientists and clinicians who suggest that what commercials call "regularity" may be a matter of life and death. Too few bowel movements and too little bulk in the stools, may partly explain the occurrence of such varied disorders as heart and gall-bladder disease, appendicitis, diverticulosis, varicose veins, clotting in the deep veins, hiatal hernia and cancer of the large intestine.

The people in developed countries have the most prevalence of these diseases. Because the increases in these diseases are real, and were caused by a change in the type of food eaten in developed countries, particularly in food that reaches the large bowel with the least change: indigestible fiber, the roughest of roughage. Until about 1890, the pound of bread that average Britons and Americans ate every day contained much indigestible fiber; because of more elaborate milling techniques, bread now contains less fiber and people are eating less of it. This, has affected both the frequency and the nature of their bowel movements, which in turn have affected their health.

The ways in which low-weight, sluggish bowel movements might contribute to so many diverse diseases are complex and indirect. Diverticulosis—in which the large bowel is deeply pitted and fecal material is trapped in the crevices—appears to be directly related to a diet rich in such highly refined carbohydrates as white flour and sugar. Tumors, both benign and malignant, are related to biochemical and bacterial changes caused by long retention of feces. As for heart disease: clinical Evidence is accumulating that shows that the reduction of fiber from the diet raises serum cholesterol levels, which is well proven predisposing factor of the coronary heart diseases.

In short, the physiological function of cereal fiber has been largely ignored because the fiber supplies no calories and has scarcely any nutritional value. Now, if the scientists' findings are confirmed, the time has come to rely not on commercial chemical laxatives but on nature's own brands —root vegetables, unpolished rice and such other unprocessed cereals as wheat, corn, barley and oats—to put fiber back into the diet of modern man
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