Our Paleolithic ancestors had access to 500 different plants. Their food was often stored in the ground with access to abundant bacteria. Today, 80% of human nutrients come from 17 plants, while 50% of our calories come from only 8 grains.
Our food undergoes excessive processing and heating. Important chemicals in plants start to disappear at 82.4 degrees F*, and plant enzymes and bacteria are destroyed above 107.6 degrees F. Phttps://www.rainbow.coop/wp-admin/post-new.php?post_type=sale-productsroteins become dysfunctional above 176 degrees F., and fatty acids and amines are damaged above 266 degrees F. These changes are all detrimental to human health.
Dysfunctional proteins produced by heating are called Maillard products. These are high in dairy products (especially powdered milk), cheese, bakery products, cereals (rice crispies), meat, poultry, fish, coffee, Coca Cola, soy sauce, balsamic products, and smoked foods. These foods are an important segment of fast foods which are increasingly consumed at a time of an increasing chronic diseases.
Many food additives, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals impair the immune system and a bodies’ ability to resist disease. Inflammation is further impaired by hormone imbalances, low levels of vitamin D, low levels of antioxidants (such as folic acid and glutathione), high levels of homocysteine, and high levels of estrogen often from hormone-rich dairy products.
The average fiber intake in the United States is 14-15 gm/d of fiber. A general recommendation is to consume 30-35 gm/d of fiber (5-8 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables). In fact, 60-80 gm/d of fiber is recommended to maintain a healthy colon with healthy bacteria. Most Americans and Europeans have lost the ability to maintain a healthy colon flora partly because of insufficient fiber.
Seeds, nuts, beans and peas are rich in fiber. Commonly, cooked roots, starchy vegetables, and grains contain only 1-3 gm. of fiber per serving. Cooked root fiber (especially potatoes) will recrystallize if allowed to cool before eating and become more nutritious.
Fiber provides nutrition to colon flora and to the colon. Supplemental fiber relieves constipation, reduces gas, blocks the growth of invading bacteria, prevents hyperglycemia, improves water and electrolyte balance, and increases mineral absorption. Food fiber is more efficient than supplemental fiber. Fiber can reduce the need for insulin in diabetics, especially water-soluble fiber such as guar gum. Fiber can reduce the risk of coronary artery disease.
It is important to consume a variety of fibers. Oat fiber is most active in the upper colon and wheat fiber is most active in the distal colon. Oat fiber is best at preventing sepsis and wheat fiber is good at preventing cancer. Healthy fibers include algae fibers, fructans (such as inulin), glycomannan (Amorphophallus konjak), pectin, and oat gum (oats and buckwheat have amino acid contents most like human muscle).
Plant fiber can be used to treat diarrhea and constipation. It also improves mineral absorption. Increased intake of fiber from fruits and vegetables may increase bone mineral density in elderly men and women. Calcium absorption and bone mineral density were improved in one study by supplementation with a mixture of inulin and fructooligosaccharide (FOS).
Plant fiber up to 20 grams per day has been shown to improve ulcerative colitis and increased colon levels of healthy butyrate. Supplementation with a 15 gm/d of a mixture of inulin (30%) and oligofrutose (70%) improved symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
Products which combine prebiotics and probiotics are called synbiotics. More studies need to be done for guidance on the choice of pre- and probiotics in specific diseases. Probiotics in products such used as yogurt are chosen for their palatibility and may not perform well in the body. LABs are lactobacillus bacteria. “The majority of LABs have no or much limited effects on immune functions and outcome.” Many LABs used in products do not break down inulin and may not even pass through stomach acid.
CONCLUSION: Inflammation is considered the cause of much illness and may be related to food choices we make. Plant fiber from food is superior to processed supplemental fiber for treatment of disease. Probiotics and prebiotics can be effective in treating gastrointestinal disease, and the choice of probiotics is important and should be scientifically based.
NOTE: *The following are temperature conversions from centigrade to fahrenheit:
28 C = 82.4 F.
42 C = 107.6 F.
80 C = 176 F
130 C = 266 F