You've most likely heard the recommendations: When it comes to planning a low cholesterol diet menu, de-emphasize egg yolks, whole dairy, and fried foods: emphasize more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains for their beneficial fiber content. There are television ads recommending consumption of bran cereals to cut your risk of heart disease. But just what is it about this particular nutritional component that is extremely beneficial, and what are our best sources?
It Does A Body Good
Soluble fiber (as opposed to insoluble or indigestible) has many health promoting functions within the human body. It helps to stabilize blood sugar and control insulin: It supports bowel function and is linked to decreases in incidences of colitis and colorectal cancers: It aids in absorption of nutrients and helps rid the body of toxins: It provides nutrition for helpful bacteria which fight disease and support the immune system: It also creates a feeling of fullness aiding in weight reduction. But where it may help to prolong your lifespan, above all else, is in its ability to bind with bile acids and cholesterol produced by your liver, hence decreasing your likelihood of vascular disease. When fat containing food is digested, these liver-producing acids flow into the gastrointestinal tract to help emulsify and increase absorption of fats. This means they get transported into the bloodstream where they can coat blood vessel walls and contribute to (you guessed it) coronary artery disease. These "solubles" act as a trap, capturing these fats and acids giving your body the opportunity to eliminate them from the digestive tract naturally. This helps to improve cholesterol levels and lower triglycerides, or blood fat levels – another vascular disease risk factor.
Been Getting Any Lately?
Many whole and unprocessed foods are fiber-rich. After processing (ie canning, packaging, milling, etc.), such beneficial content can drop substantially. Common types of solubles found in bulk / unprocessed foods include pectins, gums, betaglucans, lignins, mucilage, and hemi-cellulose. Those foodstuffs with the highest content include legumes such as beans and peas, green vegetables (including kale and broccoli) and cereals such as oats and barley. The average US citizen is relatively getting between 5-10 grams of these healthy components a day. This level is generally considered insufficient for optimal health. An adequate take is considered around 38 grams daily for men and 25-30 grams for women as set by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine. Just for reference, the more commonly consumed foods from the produce section such as bananas and apples contain in the neighborhood of 3-5 grams per serving. To get the recommended daily level from a single source of produce, you would need to consume a dozen bananas, or 9 medium apples, or about 5 cups of broccoli. To get your recommended daily supply from rolled oats alone, you would need to consume at least 15 bowls of oatmeal!
But Wilford Brimley Says It Feels Good: All Warm And Movin '' Round Inside Ya. Sounds More Like A Gut-Burster Alien To Me!
If getting adequate fiber looks a near impossibility, there are some effective, naturally derived supplements available to add to your daily regimen. We're talking pleasant tasting powders that come in convenient packs that you can take with you and mix with juice or water and consume 10-15 minutes before meals. With sufficient hydration, they expand in the gut and create a feeling of fullness, resulting in less food consumption which translates into lower calorie intake. This can aid tremendously when one is seeking to lose weight. They offer many of the benefits mentioned above. Look for something that contains plant sterols. Sterols are nutritional components that can help block the absorption of cholesterol from fat-containing food as well as the reabsorption of LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) from the intestinal tract. Begin with one-quarter to one-third the recommended amount and build your dosage upwards gradually over a period of weeks. This can help lessen the bloating and gas that may occur when starting on one of these products. Be sure to consume extra water throughout the day, as your gastrointestinal tract requires plenty of hydration to put these supplements to work for you.