Dietary fiber or roughage is derived from plants. There are two kinds of fiber known as “soluble and insoluble” (there are 5 distinct noted sources).
Fiber is a true daily essential! Optimum amounts are debated but the current recommendation is 20 grams daily.
Fiber = Balance
Key probiotics live right upside the lining of the intestines. They ferment fibers that we cannot digest on our own. This produces food for other microbes and cells. Some cells of our colon get nourishment only in this way. No fiber – no nutrients. No fiber and these microbes will have to eat sugar instead (or morph), which produces excessive mucus, an unhealthy intestinal balance.
Protein can be broken down into amino acids. They are macromolecules with one or more long chains of amino acids. Proteins are a daily essential nutrient. They are the building blocks of the body and a source of fuel.
Protein benefits are numerous:
- Used for growth and maintenance of muscle, hair, skin, nails, bone structure, and is found in all cells of the body.
- Is is the most abundant molecule in the body.
- It is the basis of all blood cells.
- Is broken down into amino acids: aminos act as co-enzymes, hormones, immune response, cellular repair (DNA), and molecules essential for life!
The animal vs. vegetable protein debate:
Vegan sources generally are easier to digest, have a lower calorie content, higher vitamin/mineral content. Worldwide, plant proteins contribute 60% of the protein supply. But in North America, animal offerings are 70% of supply. A great source of vegan is legumes or “pulses” such as soy or yellow peas. Vegan sources tend to be less acidic and more kidney friendly (consider adding nuts and seeds to diet as well) – Vernon Young, Peter Pellett (1994). “Plant proteins in relation to human protein and amino acid nutrition” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Simply put, an Antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits “oxidation” of other molecules. Oxidation produces “free radicals” that left unchecked can damage cells. i.e. Vitamin C is a great known antioxidant.
Are they necessary? Studies may be questionable but any molecule that slows or prevents oxidation in the body is similar to slowing or preventing rust on a car. They are orthomolecular molecules from foods that help scavenge free radicals accumulated by the body.
Free radicals unchecked create oxidation which in turn can lead to inflammation.
Antioxidants benefit virtually every organ and body system because they mop up damaging free radicals.