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”

Inflammation | Sorting Out the Omega-3’s

Plant-based and animal sources of Omega-3 acidsOmega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fats and consist of three types: EPA, DHA and ALA. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are primarily found in certain kinds of fish. Another type of omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid  (ALA), is found in plants.

Certain types of fish are rich in EPA and DHA. These essential polyunsaturated fats reduce C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukin-6, two inflammatory proteins in your body. A six-month study demonstrated that consuming 960 mg/day of EPA and 600 mg/day of DHA lowered CRP.¹

To lower your risk of mercury exposure from eating fish, be sure to choose the right fish*.

Swordfish_dollarphotoclub_75683664*Avoid larger, longer-living fish, such as shark and swordfish, as they tend to accumulate more mercury than the smaller fish like sardines, sole, and trout.

Per Consumer Reports, a 6-oz. serving of:

  • Salmon contains 4 mcg of mercury
  • Canned albacore tuna contains 60 mcg 
  • Swordfish contains 170 mcg 

Oily fish high in omega-3 fatty acids include:

How much: At least 3 to 4 ounces of fish, twice a week

Apple c heart symbol_40x54Fit Tip: If you don’t eat fish, you can actually drink it in the form of orange juice! Tropicana® Orange Juice Pure Premium Healthy Heart Orange Juice is fortified with actual fish (tilapia, sardine and anchovy). Also, grass-fed beef  is often higher in omega-3 fatty acids than conventional beef due to their diet of grass and foraged foods versus grains, such as corn.

Source:
¹Fish oil supplementation lowers C-reactive protein levels independent of triglyceride reduction in patients with end-stage renal disease. Nutrition Clinical Practice. 2009.

 Stay tuned! Up next… “Fish-Free Omega-3’s