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.

KRON 4 Fiber 2

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)
KRON 4 Fiber_soluble fiber
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”

Seafood: What’s Freshest in April?

Dungeness crab is native to the Pacific Coast.

Take advantage of ocean-friendly seafood* that’s freshest and available at this time of year.

  • Bay Scallops (Farmed is best; Wild ‘Giant Sea Scallops’ are good.)
  • Dungeness Crab (‘Dungeness’ is best; U.S. ‘King’, ‘Snow’, and imitation are good. Avoid imported ‘King’.)  In the San Francisco area, crab season begins in mid-November and can extend until June.  However, most of the biggest, sweetest, freshest local Dungeness Crab is brought in by the end of December.   In Oregon and Washington though, they fish longer into the spring while in British Columbia, crab’s peak season begins in April.
  • Herring (Atlantic and Lake herring are good.  Atlantic herring is available all year as a canned product.)
  • Lobster (U.S. ‘Spiny’ is best; American/Maine is good.  Avoid Caribbean ‘Spiny’.)
  • Mackerel (‘King’ and ‘Spanish’ are best, but limit consumption due to elevated levels of mercury.)
  • Monterey Prawns (Oregon ‘Pink Shimp’ is best; U.S./Canadian shrimp is good.  Avoid imported shrimp.)
  • Petrale Sole (Wild Pacific sole is good.  Avoid wild Atlantic.)
  • Oysters (Farmed is best; wild oysters from U.S. Gulf of Mexico, and Canada are good, but limit consumption due to mercury and other contaminants.)
  • Sardines (U.S. Pacific is best)
  • Steelhead Trout or Rainbow Trout (U.S. farmed is best because it’s farmed in an ecologically responsible way.)
  • Sturgeon Roe, also known as caviar (U.S. farmed is good.  Avoid imported wild-caught due to high levels of mercury and other contaminants.)

*Per the Monterey Bay Aquarium “Seafood Watch”:   By purchasing fish caught or farmed using environmentally friendly practices, you’re supporting healthy, abundant oceans.

How to Prevent Cancer (Soap and Animal Fats)

Q: What’s the difference between the more expensive soap made with vegetable oils and the cheaper commercial brands of soap? ~ D.W., Los Angeles, CA

A: Soap is the resultant compound made by reacting fat (either from vegetables or animals) with sodium hydroxide.  The less expensive, commercially-manufactured soaps use tallow (animal fat).

Tallow – Is It Fit To Be Fat?

Tallow is a low-cost waste product of the meat industry.  It is basically fat stripped from slaughtered cattle, but it may also include fat rendered from slaughtered sheep and pigs.

Ivory is made from tallow
Ivory is made from tallow

Soap manufactured from animal fat is called sodium tallowate.  50% of a slaughtered steer is tallow and bones – the main ingredient of commercial mass-produced soap.  Ivory® states that their tallow comes from meat processing scraps and consists of beef and/or pork hide and bones.

The Skinny on Animal Fat

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, from the time cattle hides are removed from the animal, rapidly-growing bacteria populates the fresh hide.  In order to control bacterial growth, bactericides and detergent or large amounts of salt need to be used as a preservative.  Further, cattle hide is one of the primary sources of E.coli contamination on carcasses.   Continue reading “How to Prevent Cancer (Soap and Animal Fats)”