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”

♥ Daily Dose | Why Metabolic Syndrome Matters

Metabolic syndrome, also known as syndrome X or obesity syndrome, is the name of a group of risk factors that increases your risk for:

  • Coronary artery disease (CAD) also known as atherosclerotic heart disease – Atherosclerosis is a condition in which plaque (a waxy substance) builds up inside your coronary arteries and hardens and narrows your arteries. The narrowing reduces blood flow to your heart muscle and can result in chest pain, a heart attack, heart damage, or even death.
  • Peripheral arterial disease
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes

Linked to Overweight, Obesity and Inactivity

Fat Man_istock_000012609799xsmall_800x450Your risk for heart disease, stroke and diabetes increases with each of the following metabolic risk factors. You have metabolic syndrome if you have three or more of these measurements.   Continue reading “♥ Daily Dose | Why Metabolic Syndrome Matters”

New Risk Factors for Memory Loss

High cholesterol can lead to dementia.

A new study revealed that high cholesterol and high blood pressure are not only risk factors for heart disease, but for early memory loss as well.  Cardiovascular risk and cognitive function were tested in nearly 5,000 men and women over age 55.

The researchers studied participants for 10 years and found those with a ten percent higher risk of cardiovascular problems also scored poorly on cognitive tests.  The tests measured reasoning, memory, fluency, and vocabulary and the results were then compared to their Framingham risk score.   Continue reading “New Risk Factors for Memory Loss”

How to Stay Healthy If You’re a Man

Male signOne of the most important ways for men at any age to stay healthy and live longer is to get recommended screening tests.  These tests can detect diseases early (i.e. cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and more) when they are easier to treat.

NOTE: If you have risk factors, a diagnosed condition, or a family history of certain diseases, talk to your physician.  The types of tests, when you start testing, and how often you test may differ from the standard recommendations below.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for the following diseases:

Scale1.  Obesity: Have your Body Mass Index (BMI) calculated to screen for obesity.  BMI is a tool that is used to measure body fat by the weight (in kilograms) to height (in meters) ration of an individual.  A BMI of 25 – 29.9 kg/m indicates overweight and a BMI greater than 30 kg/m indicates obesity.

You can use the BMI calculator from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to find your own BMI.

2.  High Cholesterol (age 45+): Starting at age 35, have your blood checked regularly for cholesterol levels (fasting blood test).  Talk to your provider about testing earlier if you are younger than 35 and if:

  • You have diabetes.
  • You have high blood pressure.
  • You have a family history of heart disease.
  • You smoke.

Sphygmomanometer BloodPressure3.  High Blood Pressure (age 18+): Starting at age 18, have your blood pressure checked at least every two years.  A blood pressure reading of 130/80 and above is high.

4.  Colorectal Cancer (age 50+): Starting at age 50, your physician can decide which test is right for you.   Continue reading “How to Stay Healthy If You’re a Man”

How to Stay Healthy If You’re a Woman

Female signOne of the most important ways for women at any age to stay healthy and live longer is to get recommended screening tests.  These tests can detect diseases early (i.e. cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, and more) when they are easier to treat.

NOTE: If you have risk factors, a diagnosed condition, or a family history of certain diseases, talk to your physician.  The types of tests, when you start testing, and how often you test may differ from the standard recommendations below.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for the following diseases:

Weight_Scale1.  Obesity: Have your Body Mass Index (BMI) calculated to screen for obesity.  BMI is a tool that is used to measure body fat by the weight (in kilograms) to height (in meters) ration of an individual.  A BMI of 25 – 29.9 kg/m indicates overweight and a BMI greater than 30 kg/m indicates obesity.

You can use the BMI calculator from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to find your own BMI.

2.  Breast Cancer (age 40+): Starting at age 20, the American Cancer Society recommends getting a Clinical Breast Exam (CBE) by your health care provider about every 3 years.  Breast self-exam (BSE) is also an option for women starting in their 20s.  At age 40, you should have a mammogram every year and a CBE prior to the mammogram.

3.  High Cholesterol (age 45+): Starting at age 45, have your blood checked regularly for cholesterol levels (fasting blood test).  Talk to your provider about testing earlier if you are younger than 45 and if: