The increased risk of cardiovascular disease has been frequently attributed to an improper diet and nutrition. Foods high in saturated and trans fats, for example, can substantially raise the levels of “bad cholesterol” in the body, which may then lead to high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. While vitamin and mineral deficiencies as well as the improper intake of other important compounds, like amino acids, have been linked to CVD, several research studies have found that fiber can have a tremendous influence in a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
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How does fiber help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease?
Abnormal levels of cholesterol, medically recognized as LDL and HDL cholesterol, can develop into fatty deposits within the blood vessels. Over time, these deposits can make it difficult for enough blood to circulate through the arteries. The heart may not get as much oxygen-rich blood as it needs, which then increases the risk of cardiovascular. But, can fiber prevent cardiovascular disease? Before covering how fiber can improve the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, we must first understand what fiber is and what role it plays in the human body.
Many different definitions of fiber have been created to-date. In an attempt to create a single definition of fiber that everyone can utilize, the Nutrition and Food Board constructed a panel that came up with the following definitions:
- Dietary fiber consists of non-digestible carbohydrates and lignin that are intrinsic and intact in plants. This includes plant non-starch polysaccharides (by way of example, cellulose, pectin, gums, hemicellulose, and fibers inside oat and wheat bran), oligosaccharides, lignin, and several forms of resistant starch.
- Functional fiber consists of isolated, non-digestible carbohydrates which are beneficial in humans. These include non-digestible plant (for instance, resistant starch, pectin, and gums), chitin, chitosan, or commercially generated (by way of example, resistant starch, polydextrose, inulin, and indigestible dextrins) carbohydrates.
- Total fiber is the sum of dietary fiber and functional fiber. It’s not important to differentiate between which types of the fibers you are getting in your daily dietary and nutritional program. Your total fiber intake is what matters.
Whichever definition is the most suitable to each individual, remember that fiber is an essential part of everyone’s diet. While fiber does fall under the category of carbohydrates, in comparison, it does not provide the same number of calories, nor is it processed the way that other sources of carbohydrates are. Fiber, however, can be further classified as soluble or insoluble.
- Soluble fibers have the ability to swell and hold water.
- When eaten as part of a diet low in saturated and trans fats, soluble fiber has been associated with an increased diet quality as well as the reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
- Soluble fiber modestly reduces LDL (“bad”) cholesterol past levels attained by a diet low in saturated fats and trans fats alone.
- Oats have a larger proportion of soluble fiber compared to any other grain.
- Insoluble fiber has been associated with decreased and slower progression of cardiovascular disease in high-risk individuals.
- Most other grains, rye, rice, and wheat are composed of insoluble fiber.
Legumes, beans, and peas can also be excellent sources of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Certain fruits and vegetables are better sources of both insoluble and soluble fiber compared to others. Many processed oat bran and wheat bran products (for instance, muffins, chips, waffles) could be made out of refined grains, perhaps not the entire grain. They can be high in sodium, added sugars and saturated fat. Make sure to read labels carefully.
Fiber for Preventing Cardiovascular Disease
In order to help decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, many health care professionals recommend adhering to a high-fiber diet to improve your overall heart health. Studies have produced evidence to support this. At a Harvard study of over 40,000 health professionals, it was found that a high total dietary fiber intake was linked to a 40 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease, or CHD, compared to a low-fiber intake. Another study of over 31,000 California Seventh-day Adventists found a 44 percent reduced risk of nonfatal coronary heart disease and an 11 percent reduced risk of fatal coronary heart disease for those who ate whole-wheat bread compared with those who ate white bread.
Another predictor of cardiovascular disease is blood sugar, along with LDL and HDL cholesterol levels. It seems that soluble fiber reduces the absorption of cholesterol into the intestines by binding with bile (which includes cholesterol) and dietary cholesterol so that the body excretes it. Bran fiber intervention trials in which fiber supplementation was combined with a low-fat diet and the oat bean shows that reductions in cholesterol levels ranged from 8 to 26 percent. Other studies have revealed that 5 to 10 grams of fiber per day decreases LDL cholesterol by about 5 percent. Each of these advantages will happen no matter of the fluctuations in dietary fat consumption. In a trial with low fat and low fat plus high fiber groups, the group consuming high fiber exhibited a greater average reduction (13%) in total cholesterol concentration than the low fat (9%) and the usual diet (7%) groups.
The clinical trials with many sorts of fiber are inconsistent, however, when it comes to decreasing high blood pressure. Soluble fiber, guar gum guava, psyllium and oat bran can lower blood pressure and lower the need for medication in hypertensive subjects locations and subjects. The typical reduction in BP is about 7.5/5.5 mmHg on 40 to 50 g/d of a mixed fiber. There is development in sodium loss, improvement in insulin sensitivity, endothelial function and decrease in the sympathetic nervous system activity.
Finding the Right Fiber Intake
The daily consumption of fiber from the typical American is about 5 to 14 grams every day. The American Heart Association, or the AHA, recommends that to an adequate intake of fiber should be based on the individual’s gender and age. The daily value for fiber is 25 grams of fiber each day for a 2,000 calorie diet. The AHA recommends getting fiber from foods rather than from fiber supplements.
In accordance with the American Heart Association, the next count as 1 ounce-equivalent (or 1 serving) of whole grains:
- 1 slice whole-grain bread (such as 100% whole-wheat bread)
- 1 cup ready-to-eat, whole-grain cereal
- 1⁄2 cup cooked whole-grain cereal, brown rice, or whole-wheat pasta
- 5 whole-grain crackers
- 3 cups unsalted, air-popped popcorn
- 1 6-inch whole-wheat tortilla
Fiber should be a part of a balanced diet and nutrition. Following the best dietary and nutritional plans can help improve overall heart health, substantially helping to decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. Fiber can help lower the levels of “bad cholesterol” in the body, balancing overall blood cholesterol to improve blood circulation and prevent CVD complications. The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic and spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
By Dr. Alex Jimenez
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