Over the past 2 weeks, I have covered macronutrients What is Nutrition (part I)? and micronutrients What is Nutrition (part II)? As a reminder, nutrition is the supply of materials, as food, required by the body’s cells to stay alive. Stated differently, nutrition is the science of consuming and utilizing foods. This week, the topic will focus on the final 2 key pieces in the nutrition puzzle; water and fiber.
Water makes up between 60% – 70% of an adult’s body weight. And it is well established that humans can survive without food for up to forty days, but only for 3-5 days without water. Clearly, water is an important nutrient and the healthiest beverage to drink.
While fluids can be obtained through other liquids and foods (soups, juice, fruits and veggies), most of the water than the human body needs must come from drinking water. In fact, water is considered so fundamental to proper nourishment in the human body, it is an essential nutrient.
Water Is Important For Nutrient Absorption
Water assists in the transport and absorption of all other nutrients consumed through the diet. Water also helps to remove metabolic wastes and toxins from cells and transport them out of the body. According to Dr. Batmanghelidj, author of Your Body’s Many Cries for Water, it is essential to drink water before eating, so as to prepare the digestive tract and provide enough fluid for the entire process of nutrient absorption and waste elimination. By the way, this is an excellent read.
Water’s Functional Roles in the Body
Water plays an important in ALL physiological functions of the body, including the following:
- Regulations of body temperature
- Cushioning the spine and joints
- Transfer and absorption of nutrients
- Removal of waste products
- Blood and lymph flow
- Brain function
- Hormonal balance
Dietary fiber is the part of plant-based foods that passes through the digestive tract without being broken down or digested. There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble fiber.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water. Most plants contain both types of fiber, but in different amounts. Fiber is an important part of a healthy diet and supports many different systems in the body. When soluble fiber dissolves, it forms into a gel that may improve digestion and may reduce blood cholesterol and blood sugar, thus aiding in disease prevention.
Good sources of soluble fiber include:
- citrus fruit
Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water. This type of fiber attracts water into your stool, making the stool softer and easier to pass. Insoluble fiber helps to promote good bowel health and keep one regular. In addition, there is evidence that insoluble fiber supports insulin sensitivity.
Good sources of insoluble fiber include:
- •Grains Ancient Grains
- Vegetables, such as cucumber, zucchini, onions and celery
- Fruits, such as apples, tomatoes, oranges, grapefruit, and berries
- Legumes – beans and lentils
Benefits of Fiber
- •control body weight
- control high blood pressure
- help balance cholesterol levels in blood
- regulate bowel movements
- regulate blood glucose levels
- reduce risks of certain diseases, such as colon cancer, breast cancer, and diabetes
I hope that you have learned a lot from this 3 part series on nutrition. Good nutrition is one of the most important pieces to optimizing health and living a long life. If you have any questions or need help with your nutrition, please leave me a message.