I know, I know, another blog post about fiber! Yet it is so remarkable to read a published study of how fiber fights heart disease -- to know there is a way for Americans to PREVENT heart disease. How can I not share it?
This week's study comes from the August 2010 issue of the Journal of Nutrition. To read the abstract of the study directly, click here.
Researchers in Japan studied the association between dietary fiber and death from heart attack and stroke in 58,730 Japanese men and women age 40-79. They followed the participants 14 years and found those who consumed the most fiber (total fiber, soluble and insoluble) were significantly less likely to have strokes, heart attacks or other signs of cardiovascular disease. Men and women who consumed the most total fiber were 20% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease (CVD). Researchers found fiber from fruit and whole grains to be especially protective against CVD.
I particularly like this study because we often associate fiber only with vegetables, and yet fruit is a great source of both soluble and insoluble fiber as well - and clearly is powerful to protect against heart disease and stroke. And who doesn't like fruit? Remember that dried fruit is also a great source of fiber and other nutrients.
Here's a little reminder about why fiber (from food) is SO important, and the difference between soluble and insoluble fiber:
* moves bulk through the intestines
* controls and balances the pH (acidity) in the intestines, preventing harmful microbes from growing, and producing cancer-causing substances. Also prevents Leaky Gut Syndrome which leads to auto-immune disorders.
* promotes regular bowel movement and prevents constipation
* removes toxic waste through colon in less time
Food Sources of Insoluble Fiber
* Vegetables such as green beans and dark green leafy vegetables
* Fruit skins and root vegetable skins
* Whole-wheat products
* Wheat bran
* Corn bran
* Seeds & Nuts
* binds with fatty acids
* prolongs stomach emptying time so that sugar is released and absorbed more slowly
* binds with water and increases satiety when eating
* lowers total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (the Bad cholesterol)
* regulates blood sugar for people with diabetes
Sources of Soluble Fiber
* Oat/Oat bran
* Dried beans and peas
* Flax seed
* Fruits such as oranges and apples
* Vegetables such as carrots
* Psyllium husk
Many foods contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, so it's best just to aim for consuming at least 25 grams of fiber in food each day. And yes, fruit is an essential part of those fiber grams!
A study published in the August 2010 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has linked meat and poultry consumption with weight gain.
Researchers followed 374,000 European men and women between 25-70 years old for 5 years, recording total meat, red meat, poultry and processed meat and weight gain. Potential confounding factors such as age and physical activity were also studied so as not to confuse the study results.
Total meat, red meat, poultry and processed meat consumption was linked with weight gain in men and women who were both overweight and normal weight. In fact, researchers found an increase in meat intake of 250 grams/day (one steak at 450 kcal) would lead to a 2-kg (4 pounds) increase in weight gain over 5 years, even when total calories stayed the same.
In the words of the researchers: "Our results suggest that a decrease in meat consumption may improve weight management".