Some health experts suggest that a diet high in saturated fats and processed foods can raise the risk for developing chronic health disorders. A plant-based diet is lower in saturated fats and cholesterol and high in dietary fiber which can promote weight loss and overall good health. A high-fiber, plant-based diet might also be a solution to digestive problems.
Up to 70 million Americans experience problems with digestion according to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Dietary fiber is not found in animal-based foods. It can only be obtained from those that are plant-based. As dietary fiber is a carbohydrate that cannot be fully processed, it travels through the digestive tract, pushing waste products along with it to be eliminated from the body. This prevents a build-up of toxins and promotes a healthier digestive system.
A 2009 Russian paper published in the Georgian Medical News espouses the importance of fiber in the diet in that it “keeps food moving through the intestine.” The authors explain that high-fiber foods expand the inner walls of the colon, easing the passage of waste within the digestive tract, and ultimately they recommend a diet high in fiber throughout life for prevention and treatment of digestive problems.
Many experts are jumping on the plant-based bandwagon for good digestive health through diet. Registered dietician, Jo Ann Hattner of gutinsight.com, advises eating regularly throughout the day and suggests three meals and two snacks. She warns of eating directly before bedtime as laying flat hampers the digestive process, sometimes causing acid reflux. Not surprisingly, she also recommends a plant-based diet, made up of a majority of fruits, vegetables and whole grains with smaller portions of animal foods.
Pamela Popper, PhD, ND is a nutritionist, a naturopath and serves as the Executive Director for the Wellness Forum. She believes that U. S. Government dietary guidelines should stress the health benefits of a plant-based diet for weight loss and for prevention of or reversal of degenerative disease.
Dr. Seth Rosen from gastrohealth.com also espouses that a healthy diet, which includes low-fat, high-fiber foods, is good for the digestive tract. He advocates a good amount of greens and other vegetables and plenty of fruits to promote regularity and cautions against processed and fried foods.
The majority of key health organizations in the Western world currently promote a plant-based diet for optimal health. Cohesive, dietary guidelines have been released by the American Cancer Society, the American Dietetic Association, the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association. Consumption of a variety of fruits, vegetables and whole grains and a reduction in the consumption of animal products is recommended