ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH FIBER IN YOU DIET?

Fiber is an essential macronutrient that is necessary for everyday health. What roles does fiber serve in making you healthier? Fiber has been shown to lower cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, can help maintain a healthy weight, promote satiety when eating, and reduce your risk of developing obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble fiber. Each of the types have their own benefit. Soluble fiber when added with water greats a gelatinous goo that feeds the healthy bacteria of the intestines. It also help to regulate your blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool and helps it pass easier. Essentially insoluble is exercise for your intestines.

How much fiber do you need a day? It is recommended that women consume between 21-25g per day and men consume between 30-38g per day. What are the best high fiber content foods to add to your diet?

The highest content foods come from legumes (nuts, seeds and beans)

Legumes

Split peas      1c     16.3g      * 1 ½ c of split pea and ham soup and you are set for the day!
Lentils           1c      15.5g      * A tasty bowl of lentil chili and your intestines will be a happy camper!
Black Beans  1c       15g       * Black beans are a tasty addition to many recipes
Almonds        1oz     3.5g     * A heart healthy snack
Pistachios      1oz     2.9g      * Sometimes you feel like a nut

Fruits

Raspberries     1c               8g
Pear w/ skin     1 item     5.5g
Apple w/ skin   1 item     4.4g
Banana             1 item      3.1g
Oranges            1 item      3.1g

Veggies

Artichokes        1 med        16.3g
Avocados          1c               10.5g
Green Peas       1c                 8g
Broccoli             1c                5.1g
Potato               1sm             2.9g
Carrots              1 med         1.7g

Whole Grains

Whole Wheat Pasta         1c         6.3g
Barley                                1c           6g
Oatmeal                            1c           4g
Air-popped popcorn        3c         3.6g

Lots of delicious soups can incorporate the legumes and the vegetables for a heart healthy, gut healthy lunch or dinner. The above mentioned fruits, veggies and nuts make fabulous snacks. Getting enough fiber in your diet is not as difficult as it may seem.

Can You Lower Your Cholesterol Levels Without Statin Drugs?

Managing your cholesterol levels are important. High cholesterol levels in the blood raise your risk of heart attack and stroke. To combat this heath condition, the medical community usually promotes taking statin drugs.

How do statins work? Statins inhibit the enzyme that allows production of cholesterol in the liver. It does not have an effect on lowering the lipoproteins (VLDL and LDL) which are also a risk marker and are the transportation molecules that take the cholesterol to organs and tissues for the processing of hormones. New research has shown, that altering the amount of the lipoproteins, the transportation molecules, has a more positive effect on managing cholesterol levels. Research has also found that taking statin drugs does help reduce heart attack and stroke with PRE-EXISTING heart disease, but not in those that do not.

Statin drugs can also have some nasty side effects. Possible side effects are as follows:

  1. Frequent interactions with other medications
  2. Muscle and joint aching
  3. Nausea and vomiting
  4. Constipation or diarrhea
  5. Rash

More serious side effects are as follows.

  1. Possible liver damage
  2. Possible kidney damage
  3. Increased blood sugar levels
  4. Possible development of type 2 diabetes
  5. Myositis (muscle swelling)/ rhabdomyolysis (muscle break down)

If taking statin drugs is something you want to avoid, there are natural alternatives. The number one supplement for reducing cholesterol levels in taking Niacin (B3). Niacin has been shown to reduce the production of the VLDL and LDL’s and increase production of HDL’s. Studies have been shown that Niacin can reduce LDL levels by 15-25% and decrease triglycerides (fatty energy molecules) by 2-50%, and increase HDL levels by 15-25%. To achieve these results, Niacin must be taken at a dosage between 1-4 mg daily. Even niacin has some side effects, but they are not serious:

  1. Flushing
  2. Headache
  3. Upset stomach/ nausea
  4. Sweating
  5. Dizziness

In addition to supplementing with Niacin, adding garlic, fiber and Omega – 3 fatty acids is recommended. An anti-inflammatory dose of Omega – 3 fatty acids is 3600mg a day. Fiber consumption should be around 25-30g per day though fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods.

Exercise, particularly resistance training is an essential component of lower LDL levels and increasing HDL levels. Resistance training should be performed three to five days a week.

Always consult your physician before changing or stopping your medication regiment or there could be potential negative side effects.