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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.
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:
Fiber is separated into two main types: soluble fiber and insolublefiber.They’re different in how they react with water — and because of that, they have a different effect on your body.
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
Chia seeds, ground flax seeds
Legumes (beans, split peas, lentils)
Apples, avocados, pears, citrus fruits (but not fruit juices)
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”→
A large waistline (abdominal obesity or “having an apple shape”) puts you at risk for cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes — all of which can affect your longevity. Belly fat is also one of the risk factors for metabolic syndrome. See Daily Dose | Why Metabolic Syndrome Matters.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Katcher, H.I. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2008; vol 87: pp 79-90), found that a calorie-controlled diet*rich in whole grains decreased extra fat from the waistlines of obese subjects with metabolic syndrome compared to dieters who ate refined-grain foods.
*Daily energy needs minus 500 calories per day were calculated to produce a calorie deficit needed to achieve weight loss.
The Whole-Grain Diet
A grain product is whole grain if a “whole grain” is listed as the first ingredient on the food label. By following the whole-grain eating plan, participants lost more abdominal fat than another group that ate the same diet, but ate refined grains instead.
VIDEO: Eating an apple a day is known to “keep the doctor away”, but eating one can have another interesting effect. Karen Owoc, The Health Reporter, hosts this short-form segment of health and fitness news in The Health Reporter Minute.
Constipation is not a subject that many of us like to talk about. But let’s face it, everyone gets constipated at one time or another and it can be pretty painful, uncomfortable, and frustrating. Here are some ways to help keep you moving!
1. Get some exercise. Your intestines are muscles too. When you work out, you’re doing more than just toning your muscles and strengthening your heart. Bowel movements occur when the muscles of your intestinal tract contract. When exercising aerobically, your heart and breathing rates increase which help your intestinal muscles contract. Well-toned intestinal muscles contract well and are able to move food through the tract efficiently and naturally. Continue reading “Constipation: When the Going Gets Tough”→