Grandma called it “roughage” and today we may call it Fiber, but it is the simple path to regularity, gastrointestinal health and so much more. It is now medically accepted that people who consume more Fiber have fewer weight problems, along with a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and most cancers. And when it comes to heart health, Fiber is a real superstar.
What Happens If You Don’t Get Enough Fiber?
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Beyond the effects on regularity and your digestive system, consuming insufficient amounts of Fiber can impact heart health. Foods that are dense with Fiber can have a moderating effect on carbohydrate absorption, which in turn helps balance blood sugar levels. 6 Fluctuating blood sugar can cause the body to fall into a vicious cycle of cholesterol synthesis. And, when the body produces more cholesterol than it needs, the coronary arteries suffer damage, which can lead to heart disease.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids.
Omega 3 is probably the most researched nutritional supplement in the world. The astounding health benefits of omega-3 have been studied by some of the most prestigious institutions and their findings have been reported in literally thousands of the world’s best peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals. The two most important omega 3 fatty acids that help support a healthy heart are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
The American Heart Association (AHA) affirms that Omega-3 fatty acids benefit the hearts of:
•those at high risk of cardiovascular disease
•those who have cardiovascular disease.
Phytosterols are cholesterol-like molecules found in all plant foods, with highest concentrations found in vegetable oils especially sea buckthorn oil, corn oil and soybean oil. As a food ingredient or additive, Phytosterols can reduce cholesterol levels by up to 15% according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition (June 2003). The FDA and the American Heart Association have declared that there is evidence that phytosterols may block the absorption of bad cholesterol in the intestines and therefore prevent it from entering the bloodstream.
The healthy heart cabbage diet or the “cabbage soup diet” is one of the fad diets that the American Heart Association and other public health organizations warn against. There are many reasons for these warnings, depending on which diet one is attempting to follow. The healthy heart cabbage diet has many flaws.
Drawbacks of the Cabbage Diet
The guidelines for the healthy heart cabbage diet begin with a recipe for cabbage soup. The ingredients include green onions, green peppers, diced tomatoes, celery, onion soup mix, bouillon cubes and a head of cabbage. The heart healthy benefits of cabbage soup by itself are questionable, at best.
If you are overweight, you could probably go without the fat for one day, but extremely low-fat diets are not filling, not advisable for permanent weight control and many of the organs, including the brain, need dietary fat to function effectively.
Whole Food Supplements
Public health organizations recommend 5-10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day in a variety of colors. Each different color provides different flavonoids, some of which may prevent cancer, most of which are antioxidants and some that can reduce unhealthy levels of cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels.