Natural Cures

Contents
  1. The Principles of Nature Cure
  2. Fasting-The Master Remedy
  3. Therapeutic Baths
  4. The Power of Earth
  5. The Value of Exercise
  6. Therapeutic Value of Massage
  7. Yoga Therapy
  8. Importance of Sleep
  9. Nutrition for Vigor and Vitality
  10. Miracles of Alkalizing Diet
  11. Vitamins and their Importance
  12. Cataract
  13. Minerals and Their Importance
  14. Secrets of Food Combining
  15. Health Promotion the Vegetarian Way
  16. Importance of Dietary Fibre
  17. Lecithin - An Amazing Youth Element
  18. Acne
  19. Alcoholism
  20. Allergies
  21. Anaemia
  22. Appendicitis
  23. Arteriosclerosis
  24. Arthritis
  25. Asthma
  26. Backache
  27. Bronchitis
  28. Cancer
  29. Colitis
  30. The Common Cold
  31. Conjunctivitis
  32. Constipation
  33. Dandruff
  34. Defective vision
  35. Depression
  36. Diabetes
  37. Diarrhoea
  38. Dysentery
  39. Eczema
  40. Epilepsy
  41. Falling of Hair
  42. Fatigue
  43. Gall-Bladder Disorders
  44. Gastritis
  45. Glaucoma
  46. Gout
  47. Headaches and Migraine
  48. Heart Disease
  49. High Blood Cholesterol
  50. High Blood Pressure
  51. Hydrocele
  52. Hypoglycemia
  53. Indigestion
  54. Influenza
  55. Insomnia
  56. Jaundice
  57. Kidney Stones
  58. Leucoderma
  59. Neuritis
  60. Nepthritis
  61. Obesity
  62. Peptic Ulcer
  63. Piles
  64. Premature Greying of Hair
  65. Prostate Disorders
  66. Psoriasis
  67. Pyorrhoea
  68. Rheumatism
  69. Sexual Impotence
  70. Sinusitis
  71. Stress
  72. Thinness
  73. Tonsillitis
  74. Tuberculosis
  75. Varicose Veins
  76. Venereal Diseases
  77. Menstrual Disorders
  78. Premenstrual Syndrome
  79. Menopausal Problems
  80. Childbirth the Natural Way
  81. Habitual Abortion
  82. Female Sterility
  83. Leucorrhoea
  84. Inflammation of the Uterus
  85. Prolapse of the Uterus
  86. Vaginitis
  87. Pruritus Vulvae
  88. Hysteria
  89. Nutrition for Vigor and Vitality
  90. Nutrition for Vigor and Vitality
  91. Nutrition for Vigor and Vitality
  92. Nutrition for Vigor and Vitality
  93. Nutrition for Vigor and Vitality
  94. Nutrition for Vigor and Vitality
  95. Nutrition for Vigor and Vitality
  96. Nutrition for Vigor and Vitality
  97. Nutrition for Vigor and Vitality
  98. Nutrition for Vigor and Vitality
  99. Nutrition for Vigor and Vitality
  100. Nutrition for Vigor and Vitality
  101. Nutrition for Vigor and Vitality
  102. Nutrition for Vigor and Vitality
Other things
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Wednesday, February 7, 2007
Importance of Dietary Fibre
Fibre forms the skeletal system of plants. Without it no plant or tree would be able to stand upright. Dietary fibre, the roughage of yester years, consists of those parts of the plant foods that cannot be digested by enzymes or other digestive secretions in the ailmentary canal.

Dietary fibre plays an important role in the maintenance of health and prevention of diseases. There is sufficient evidence to suggest that an artificial depletion of fibre as in case of refined cereals and sugar has over the last 100 years contributed to several degenerative diseases.
Recent studies in this area indicate that sufficient intake of fibre-rich diet may help prevent obesity, colon cancer, heart disease, gallstones, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulosis and diabetic conditions.

Studies have also established that dietary fibre is a collection of elements with a variety of functions rather than a single substance with single function as was assumed earlier. This new insight into the true nature of fibre has given the lie to old beliefs that bran is synonymous with fibre, that all fibre is fibrous or stringy and that all fibre tastes the same.

Physiological effects

Fibre in the diet promotes more frequent bowel movements and softer stools having increased weight. The softness of stools is largely due to the presence of emulsified gas which is produced by the bacterial action on the fibre. A high fibre intake results in greater efficiency in the peristaltic movement of the colon. This helps in relieving the constipation which is the main cause of several acute and chronic diseases.

Recent studies suggest that increasing the dietary fibre intake may be beneficial for patients with irritated bowel syndrome who have diarrhoea and rapid colonic transit, as well as to those who have constipation and slow transit. The high fibre diet, like bran, thus regulates the condition inside the colon so as to avoid both extremes - constipation and diarrhoea.

Investigations have shown that several potential carcinogens are produced in the faeces. Their production is related to the acidity of the gut content. The greater the acidity in the bowel content, the less is the production of these carcinogens. The breaking down of the fibre by
bacteria renders the faeces more acidic. This reduces the amount of possible carcinogenic substances. Fibre also reduces the possibility of formation of harmful toxins in the large intestine by reducing the intestinal transit time of the food contents.

Dietary fibre increases the bacteria in the large intestines which require nitrogen for their growth. This in turn reduces the chances of cancerous changes in cells by reducing the amount of ammonia in the large bowel. Fibre reduces the absorption of cholesterol in the diet. It also slows down the rate of absorption of sugars from the food in the digestive system. Certain types of fibre increase the viscosity of the food content. This increased viscosity indirectly reduces the need for insulin secreted by the pancreas. Thus a fibre-rich diet can help in diabetes mellitus

Sources of Fibre

The most significant food sources of fibre are unprocessed wheat bran, whole cereals such as wheat, rice, barley, rye, millets ; legumes such as potato, carrots, beet , turnip and sweet potato ; fruits like mango and guava and leafy vegetables such as cabbage, lettuce and celery. The percentage of fibre content per 100 gms. of some foods are : bran 10.5-13.5, whole grain cereals 1.0-2.0, nuts 2.0-5.0, legumes 1.5-1.7, vegetables 0.5-1.5, fresh fruits 0.5-1.5, and dried fruits 1.0-3.0. The foods which are completely devoid of fibre are meat, fish , eggs, milk, cheese, fats and sugars.

Bran, the outer coverings of grains, is one of the richest sources of dietary fibre. And it contains several types of fibre including cellulose, hermicellulose and pectin. Wheat and corn bran are highly beneficial in relieving constipation. Experiments show that oat bran can reduce cholesterol levels substantially. Corn bran is considered more versatile. It relieves constipation and also Importance of Dietary Fibre lowers LDL cholesterol, which is one of the more harmful kinds. Besides being rich in fibre, bran has a real food value being rich in time, iron and vitamins and containing a considerable amount of protein.

Dr.Dennis P. Burkitt, a noted British physician remarks, “Grain roughages, such as rich bran and wheat bran, are an essential part of a healthy diet, and a preventive against diseases like piles, constipation, bowel cancer, varicose veins and even coronary thrombosis. " Dr. Burkitt worked for many years in Africa and found after a series of observations that rural Africans who eat bulk of fibrous foods rarely suffer from any of these diseases.
Legumes have high fibre content. Much of this fibre is water- soluble, which makes legumes likely agents for lowering cholesterol. Soyabeans, besides this, can also help control glucose levels.

The types of fibre contained in vegetables and fruits contribute greatly towards good health. The vegetables with the biggest fibre ratings include sweet corn, carrots, potatoes, parsnips and peas. And among the high ranking fruits are raspberries, pears, strawberries and guavas.

Types of Fibres

There are six classes of fibre. They are cellulose, hemicellouse, pectin, gums, mucilages and legnin. They differ in physical properties and chemical interactions in the gut, though all except legnin are poly-saceharides. The facts known so far about these forms of fibre as a result of various studies are discussed below.

Cellulose : It is the most prevalent fibre. It is fibrous and softens the stool. It abounds in fruits, vegetables, bran, whole-meal bread and beans. It is also present in nuts and seeds. It increases the bulk of intestinal waste and eases it quickly through the colon. Investigations indicate that these actions may dilute and flush cancer-causing toxins out of the intestinal tract. They also suggest that cellulose may help level out glucose in the blood and curb weight gain.

Hermicellulose : It is usually present wherever cellulose is and shares some of its traits. Like cellulose, it helps relieve con- stipation, waters down carcinogens in the bowel and aids in weight reduction. Both cellulose and hemicellulose undergo some bacterial breakdown in the large intestine and this produces gas.

Pectin : This form of fibre is highly beneficial in reducing serum cholesterol levels. It, however,does not have influence on the stool and does nothing to prevent constipation. Researchs are being conducted to ascertain if pectin can help eliminate bile acids through the intestinal tract thereby preventing gallstones and colon cancer. It is found in apples, grapes, berries, citrus fruits, guava, raw papaya and bran.

Gums and Mucilages : They are the sticky fibres found in dried beans, oat bran and oatmeal. Investigations have shown that they are useful in the dietary control of diabetes and cholesterol.
Legnin : The main function of legnin is to escort bile acid and cholesterol out of the intestines. There is some evidence that it may prevent the formation of gallstones. It is contained in cereals, bran, whole meal flour, raspberries, strawberries, cab- bage, spinach, parsley and tomatoes. The best way to increase fibre content in the diet is to increase the constipation of wholemeal bread, brown rice, peas beans, lentils, root vegetables and sugar -containing fruits, such as dates, apples, pears and bananas. The intake of sugar, refined cereals, meat, eggs and dairy products should be reduced. Candies, pastries, cakes which are rich in both sugar and fat, should be taken sparingly. White processed bread should be completely eliminated from the diet.

Requirement :

There are divergent views as to the requirement of dietary fibre for good health. There is no recommended daily dietary allowance for it and hardly any data about optimum amounts. Some Africans known for lower incidence of degenerative diseases take about 150 grams of fibre a day. In Europe and North America, where there is a high incidence of such diseases, people take 25 grams or less a day. Dr. John H. Cummings, a noted fiber expert in England, considers Importance of Dietary Fibre that a fibre intake of 30 grams ( about one ounce ) per day is sufficient for good health.

Excessive consumption of fibre, especially bran, should however, be avoided. Due to its content of crude fibre, bran is relatively harsh and it may irritate the delicate functioning of the digestive system, especially in the sick and the weak. Excessive use of fibre may also result in loss of valuable minerals like calcium, phosphorus,magnesium and potassium from the body through excretion due to quick passage of food from the intestine.

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