Gastrointestinal disorders affect any part of your intestinal tract, which is also known as the G.I. tract. This is the tract which your food travels through as it makes its way out of your body. If the body is unable to get rid of all the food in this tract, you will begin to experience many problems. This is why it is important to add fiber to your diet, as it helps your tract to stay clean.
Some of the gastrointestinal disorders are constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticular disease and hemorrhoids. There are many symptoms associated with these disorders such as indigestion, heartburn, nausea, abdominal pain and loss of appetite. But, all of these can be prevented just by adding more fiber to your diet.
What Causes Gastrointestinal Disorders?
There are many things which may cause you to come down with these disorders, but one of the biggest causes is not enough fiber in your diet. If you eat a lot of fried foods, animal fats, sugar or refined foods, then you are not getting enough and most likely will experience some of these disorders at one point or another. Easing up on the spices and slowing down while you eat will help to avoid some of the disorders.
Food allergies and other serious illnesses can also contribute to gastrointestinal disorders, as well as stress and the use of alcohol and cigarettes.
The Importance of Fiber
Fiber is the part of plant food which is not digestible and cannot be converted to energy. There are 2 types of fibers which are essential to the body: insoluble and soluble.
Insoluble fiber is a natural laxative which helps to remove the stool quickly and easily from the body. It contains antioxidants which help to clean the gastrointestinal tract, plus, it adds more volume to the stool. Its ability to absorb water will help you to feel full faster, thus eliminating overeating which can also contribute to these disorders.
Soluble fiber binds itself to the bile acids and toxins which tend to build up in the tract, and helps to remove them through bowel movements.
So basically what fiber does is remove acids from your gastrointestinal tract before they can be absorbed into your body, where they can cause many diseases. Therefore, it is very important that you eat a high fiber diet because there is no other food substance that will clean your tract as well as fiber does. Women require a minimum of about 25 g of fiber each day.
Foods High in Fiber
Some of the foods which are high in soluble fiber are apples, barley, carrots, figs, grapefruit, oranges, peaches, raisins and rice. Some of the foods high in insoluble fiber are Brazil nuts, flax seed, peanuts, fruits and vegetables with skin and whole grain breads and cereals.
Most plant based foods will have a combination of both fibers so you do not have to worry about not getting the right fiber.
Once you start to add more fiber to your diet, you will also need to increase your intake of water, or it may cause constipation.