Fibre and heart disease prevention!

Happy New Year everyone!!

This New Year’s Eve might have been one of the best ones yet for me! After deciding I was going to just stay home and go to bed early, my roommate was able to talk me into going with her to downtown Toronto. So glad I went! Great times, people AND fireworks!

After a bit of thought, I have a few resolutions for 2013… 1) talk to my family more 2) be a bit less of a hermit lol and 3) climb outside even more than I did last year! :D Do you guys have any resolutions for 2013?

Here’s a picture of me climbing in Collingwood, Ontario :)

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More and more research is reporting a lower rate of heart disease in individuals with higher dietary fibre intakes. Fibre effectively decreases total and LDL cholesterol, improves insulin sensitivity, improves satiety, decreases inflammation, etc. Are you getting enough? This post will be on the importance of fibre for heart disease prevention! Hope you enjoy!

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in developed countries. It is considered an inflammatory disease beginning with free radical deposition, an increased total and LDL cholesterol and lipoprotein remnants at the subendotheilia of our arteries. Local inflammation, calcification, arterial thrombosis, plaque disruption and vasoconstriction follow. Its development ultimately depends on the number of oxidized lipoproteins in, primarily, the arterial subendotheium. Diets alone can effectively lower the LDL and total cholesterol content, oxidation, blood pressure, thrombogenesis, etc.

So clearly a diet high in fibre protects us from heart disease, but what exactly is dietary fibre? Dietary fiber can be defined as edible plant material that’s resistant to digestion in our small intestine. It is considered a “complex carbohydrate.” Fibre can be categorized as either soluble or insoluble…

Soluble Fiber, like the name suggests, can partially dissolve in water to form a gel. This gel can slowly move through our digestive systems, trapping fat and toxins along the way, eventually removing them from our bodies. The heart benefits from soluble fibre are primarily due to the longer time it takes to digest and slower rates of absorption. Good sources include nuts, seeds, fruits, beans, lentils, flax, legumes, carrots, etc.

Insoluble Fiber, on the other hand, doesn’t dissolve in water and moves through our digestive tract undigested. It helps to provide bulk, strengthen the muscles of our colon and essentially sweeps the walls of our colon, keeping them clean. As a result, insoluble fibre improves regularity, reduces constipation, removes toxins through the colon, decreases colon cancer risk, maintains intestinal pH, etc. Good sources include vegetables, fruit skins, seeds, etc. While soluble fibre has positive effects on reducing heart disease factors, insoluble fibres has been the most consistently shown to reduce heart disease risks.

The average North American doesn’t get nearly enough dietary fibre; a study in 2005 by statistics Canada showed that the average Canadian only consumed about 13 grams of fibre a day. The suggested fibre intake is actually between 25-40grams per day (a very wide range!); the upper end (or higher) would be my personal recommendation for optimal health. A prolonged inadequate fibre intake leads to the accumulation of undigested food in our colon which ferments, essentially goes bad and ultimately has toxic effects which leads to poor health and chronic disease. Why are we consistently missing the mark for fibre intake? Is it our education systems? The cost for healthy food? Our westernized diets continue to prove unhealthy, something needs to change!

So a wrap up; fibre keeps our bowels healthy, helps manage blood glucose, controls appetite, acts as a ‘prebiotic’, protects against chronic diseases (including heart disease), decreases calories absorbed, helps manage and prevent digestive disorders and helps eliminate unwanted substances from our bodies. Hopefully this post has shed some light on the importance of getting enough fibre!

Happy New Year everyone!

Jen

Nakada Y, Kurasawa H, Tohyama J, Inoue Y, Ikewaki K. (2007)Increased remnant lipoproteins in patients with coronary artery disease-evaluation utilizing a newly developed remnant assay, remnant lipoproteins cholesterol homogeneous assay (R3em-C). J Atheroscler Thromb; 14: 56-64.

Rouse IL, Armstrong BK, Beilin LJ, Vandongen R. (1983) Bloodpressure- lowering effect of a vegetarian diet: Controlled trial in normotensive subjects. Lancet; 321: 5-10.

Sanchez-Muniz F. (2012) Dietary fibre and cardiovascular health. Nutr Hosp.;27(1):31-45.

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30 comments on “Fibre and heart disease prevention!

  1. frankoshanko says:

    Seems like a no-brainer eh? I wish everyone would read this post and take it to heart! :)

  2. cbloving says:

    Now that I’ve read about fiber, I’m grateful that I’m having a serving as I write :) My resolution this year is to do what I call bite-sized or weekly resolutions, so that I stay focused throughout the year. See. e.g., my meditation center blog (www.spiritmuvmeditation.com), which provides a year-long challenge of weekly meditations designed to help me and all participants stay centered in our ability to manifest the good that we seek. We are finishing a 40-day challenge this week, and I realize that it was all too good to stop :) as it is a daily practice — not an occasional one. More specifically, I plan to increase my weekly runs so that I can do a half-marathon before the year’s end; to publish two more books (I have published four); and spend more time marketing. Many blessings on all of your resolutions and on a happy, prosperous new year!

    • Your meditation center blog looks amazing! Excellent work :). I think you may have inspired me to start my own weekly resolutions :). A half-marathon and 2 more books! Good on you for making such great resolutions :)!! You are clearly a very successful and inspirational woman :)

  3. FOR ME…my resolutions SOMETIMES get put on the back burner, so my thing is to live one day at a time, respecting others and renewing myself, as I express in my blog “prescriptiongetup.” Thank you for this information which is so very important to our health, Happy 2013!

  4. We believe it is the first time we read an article that actually asks, “why do we miss the mark” with this? The answer, as you know, is precisely that there is no reason to miss the mark. It is a matter of choice. “Better choices” could be a good New Year resolution. It leaves room for improvisation and personal whims, but brings self-respect to the foreground. Just a thought and thank you for the inspiration. Speaking of resolutions… we wonder how difficult it will be for you to keep your third one!!!

  5. Fantastic – I’m sure my family & friends are sick of hearing me sprouting about the benefits of more fibre! When people don’t know how to get more fibre, I suggest using an online food diary which can tell you exactly how much fat, carbohydrate, fibre, sugar, salt, etc you are eating, along with the calorific value. I have used calorieking.com.au (an Australian food database, but there are free American equivalents if you search on the net) and boy did that come in handy to research the foods that would give me the most fibre. This allowed me to find more foods that I like that had more fibre & plan my meals & shopping accordingly. There is free help out there for everyone who doesn’t know where to start!

    • I’m glad you liked it :D, keep on spreading the word about fibre- more people need to realize the implications of nutrition :). That looks like a great resource, thanks for sharing!

  6. orangeros says:

    Thanks for stopping over at my blog. I just came over and and WOW! Tons of great info! Will be stopping by often me thinks :)

  7. bezzymates says:

    Posts like these can save a life. There are so many ways in incorporate fibre in your diet. Hopefully people will get the message.

  8. Vinny Grette says:

    I think we don’t get enough fibre because people eat what they like and what they are used to eating.- not what they SHOULD be eating. People prefer steak and white bread and cakes, not cereal and whole wheat and veggies. Knowing isn’t enough. The big question is – how do you motivate people to try new foods and change their food habits???

  9. territerri says:

    I admire your climbing ability! I have a fear of heights (and falling!)

    Eating right does seem like a no-brainer, but it seems to take a lot of diligence to resist all the goodies out there and eat what’s really good for you.

  10. Maya says:

    I’m reading more and more these days about how crucial our diet is to our health, and especially our hearts. Thanks for sharing! Love your pic of rock climbing. Great goals!

  11. Michael says:

    Thanks for this. I love simple logic. Plus it is worth mentioning that the least processed the fibre is the more it will increase its quality and will serve it’s purpose.

  12. Amen for fibre! I have reduced my LDL (bad) cholesterol by almost 150 points in the past year, by making sure I eat a bowl of oatmeal, an apple, almonds and avocado every day (among a few other things!) To Vinny and Terri’s points about people having trouble eating the “should” foods – I think we mostly get in our own ways because we try to be “good all the time”. I eventually scrapped that and started committing to do something small, every weekday. When I had mastered having oatmeal every day, then the next week, I added an apple, and the week after that I added a handful of almonds – sloooowwww, but effective. I could do it. I saw progress. Oh yeah, and on Saturday, I eat whatever I want. Pandemonium! I think change has to be broken down into little steps that you can act upon and then feel good about yourself for doing it! : )

  13. MarlisB says:

    I would really love to see a list of the foods you eat during an average week.

  14. Vangie says:

    I’m learning a lot from your blogs.

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