KRON 4 | How Fiber Lengthens Your Life

For good health, you’ve probably been told to eat more fiber — but all fibers are not alike. If you have risk factors for coronary artery disease and stroke, such as belly fat, diabetes, high cholesterol, or obesity, it’s a good idea to know the difference. Here’s how fiber in general can add years to your life.

Fiber Basics

Dietary fibers are found naturally in plants. They’re types of carbohydrates that don’t break down in your stomach and pass through your system pretty much intact. Fiber refers to carbohydrates, such as:

  • Cellulose
  • Dextrin
  • Inulin
  • Lignin
  • Chitins
  • Pectins
  • Beta-glucans
  • Waxes
  • Oligosaccharides

Fiber is separated into two main types: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. They’re different in how they react with water — and because of that, they have a different effect on your body.

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Soluble Fiber – “The Cholesterol Sponge”

Soluble fiber dissolves in water and forms a viscous gel (soft and sticky) in the intestines which:

  • Helps lower LDL cholesterol* (the “bad” cholesterol). Soluble fiber soaks up cholesterol-laden bile in your intestine and eliminates them with other waste. Per a review and analysis of multiple studies, increasing total dietary fiber by just 7 gm a day reduced stroke risk by 7% and heart disease risk by 9%. Example of 7 gm fiber: 1 medium apple + 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal OR 1/2 cup of cooked pinto beans.
  • Slows down digestion which helps control blood sugar and diabetes. Diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease.
  • Helps control body weight by making you feel full longer. It slows the emptying of food through the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Slows visceral fat gain. A study found that eating an additional 10 grams of soluble fiber per day reduced the rate at which visceral fat accumulated (nearly 4% slower over a 5-year period).

*LDL cholesterol is needed to produce hormones and provide structure to cell membranes, but because excesses can accumulate in the blood vessels and promote atherosclerosis, it’s been branded as the “bad” cholesterol.   

Sources High in Soluble Fiber

Many foods have both soluble AND insoluble fibers with some having predominantly more of one than the other.

  • Oats, oat bran
  • Barley
  • Chia seeds, ground flax seeds
  • Legumes (beans, split peas, lentils)
  • Psyllium husk
  • Apples, avocados, pears, citrus fruits (but not fruit juices)
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Example of 10 grams of SOLUBLE fiber and over 20 grams of TOTAL dietary fiber (both soluble and insoluble)

Insoluble Fiber – “Nature’s Broom”

Insoluble fiber acts like “nature’s broom”. It sweeps through your gastrointestinal tract and helps prevent constipation and colon cancer. Insoluble fiber does NOT dissolve in water, but absorbs water as it travels through your digestive tract which eases elimination, so it:    Continue reading “KRON 4 | How Fiber Lengthens Your Life”

ABC 10 | Healthy Ways to Eat Pumpkin

It’s hard to believe summer officially ended and as if overnight, we’ve rolled into pumpkin season. I revisited ABC10 last week as their TV health expert and was excited to feature some healthy ways to eat America’s beloved fall vegetable. Pumpkins are packed with anti-aging nutrition and are a versatile veggie — you can cook it, soup it, bake it, sweeten it, or just eat their seeds! Pumpkin for breakfast? Lunch? Dinner? Yes, yes, and yes!

On the menu:

  • BREAKFAST: Pumpkin Nut Belgian Waffles — Chopped walnuts add a healthy dose of heart healthy omega-3’s to these light whole grain waffles. Topped with my favorite naturally sweet Spiced Apple Topping. (This antioxidant-rich topping is delicious over yogurt and muesli, pumpkin pancakes, and ice cream too!)
  • BREAKFAST, SNACK OR DESSERT: Super Moist Pumpkin Bars with Greek Cream Cheese Pineapple Frosting — These bars are delicious and healthy any time!
  • ENTREE: Pumpkin Marinara over Green Lentil Pasta — Super easy to make and super rich in skin-loving ingredients: pumpkin and tomato purée!
  • SOUP: Roasted Pumpkin and Apple Soup in Pumpkin Tureen  — Pumpkins + apples make the perfect pair.
  • BEVERAGE: Pineapple Pumpkin Smoothie  — This creamy smoothie (frozen pineapple, bananas, pumpkin, chia seeds, and Greek yogurt) makes a great way to start the day, pick you up in the afternoon, or reenergize you after a workout. Freeze it for a fresh fruit frozen dessert! 😀
  • DESSERT: Pumpkin Bark — Handmade extreme dark chocolate with roasted pumpkin seeds and almonds.

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With Host Mellisa Paul on the set at ABC10

Nutrition Session 2: The Specifics

Grocery Bag With Fruits and Vegetables

Do you need help planning balanced, antioxidant-rich* meals? This small-group session is a follow-up to “The Basics” class. It provides you with specific menus based around centenarian principles and the vegetarian and Mediterranean-style patterns. (The Basics class is not required, but recommended.)

Simple menu plans and plant-rich plates are heart healthy, diabetic friendly, and cancer protective. Ideal if you’re trying to lose weight and want simplicity in the kitchen.

*Note: If you received a low antioxidant test score, i.e., Skin Carotenoid Score (SCS), when we tested you at the Kick-Off Shopping Party, the menus provided in this class will help you boost antioxidant activity and your SCS score.

OBJECTIVE: Learn how to put healthy eating into practice.

FEE: $30 

WHEN: Thursday, August 10, 2017 at 4:00 pm

WHERE: Sports Basement San Ramon – 1041 Market Place, San Ramon, CA  94583

INSTRUCTOR: Karen Owoc, B.S., Certified Clinical Exercise Physiologist / Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist

Participants will receive 20% off on all purchases at the Sports Basement on this day.

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ABC 10 | Healthy 4th of July!

What do you have planned for the Fourth of July? Here are some pics of what I prepared for my guest appearance on ABC 10. Click HERE to link to the video.

Think FRESH and seasonal. There are so many sumptuous fruits and vegetables that are perfect for your picnic, party, or just you! See what’s “in season” at this time of year by scrolling over to the right column of this blog page. 

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Fresh Features…

Appetizer

  • Burrata Bites – Fresh Italian cheese in a fresh endive leaf ‘cup’ topped with fresh diced peaches, raspberries, and toasted almonds, then drizzled with Sonoma Gold balsamic vinegar — the key ingredient!

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Sides    Continue reading “ABC 10 | Healthy 4th of July!”

Matcha: The Ultimate Health Drink ☘

Organic green matcha tea

If you’re looking for a healthy alternative to the usual shamrock-shaded green beer to show your St. Patrick’s Day spirit, try matcha. Matcha (pronounced “MA-cha”) is a finely ground green tea powder that dates back to a 1,000-year-old Japanese tea ceremony. Preparing and serving matcha is a formal art in Japan and the health benefits of this green elixir have been striking.

The Magic of Matcha

Researchers consider green tea the healthiest beverage you can drink. Its health benefits have been studied since the 1990s due to their strong correlation between long life and health in many Asian cultures. Extensive studies on green tea revealed that it provides significant protection against:

  • Cardiovascular disease heart disease (atherosclerosis)
  • Low density lipoproteins (LDLs – the “bad” cholesterol)
  • High blood pressure
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Stroke

Healthy, plaque-free blood vessels are good for your heart and what’s good for your heart is also good for your brain. An active, working brain requires sufficient blood flow.

Catechin Polyphenols

What makes matcha so beneficial? Something called polyphenols. Polyphenols are potent antioxidants and green tea contains polyphenols classified as “catechins” (pronounced KAT’-eh-kins).

Catechin polyphenols are found in the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant that fight and may even prevent cell damage. Catechins are also found in red wine, chocolate, berries, and apples, but in smaller amounts compared to tea leaves.

Four types of tea come from the Camellia sinensis plant:

  • Black
  • Green
  • Oolong
  • White

Green tea undergoes much less processing than the other teas, so it contains more antioxidants as well as less caffeine. Specifically, these hand-picked green tea leaves are high in catechin polyphenols called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which is the most active and most studied of the polyphenols.

How to Drink It

Matcha is made from high quality leaves and is jewel green in color. When drinking matcha, in contrast to drinking steeped green tea, you are drinking the whole leaf and not just the brewed water from the leaves. Therefore, when drinking matcha, you’re consuming 10 times the antioxidants, i.e., the health benefits in one cup of matcha is equivalent to 10 cups of green tea.    Continue reading “Matcha: The Ultimate Health Drink ☘”