Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in the US today, and cardiovascular disease seems to be a catchall phrase for a number of diseases that involve the heart arteries and the veins.
Author Brenda Watson in her book: The Fiber 35 Diet explains that Cardiovascular disease is not only the heart, it effects the brain and extremities.
If you get a blood clot, this can stop the flow of blood anywhere, including the brain. Similarly, blood clots can form in the arteries that supply our arms and legs, and this is called peripheral artery disease.
Who is at risk for CVD?
Aging, poor diet, obesity, high blood pressure, smoking and diabetes.
A study at Harvard University with 330,00 people looked at dietary habits and fiber. They found that for every 10 grams of fiber consumed daily, the risk over heart attack dropped by 14%. And those 10 grams of fiber reduced the overall risk of dying from some form of cardiovascular disease, including stoke by 27%.
Other studies have found that just by eating a mere 5 grams a day of fiber which is the amount of a medium apple, 1/2 cup of peas, 2 tablespoons of flaxseed, or a banana can lower your risk of heart diseases. In this research at Tulane University in New Orleans they tracked the dietary habits of 10,000 people for 20 years. Those who ate 20 grams of fiber a day, which is 5 grams more than the daily average for Americans, suffered fewer heart attacks.
There are many fiber success stories, including the reduction of blood pressure. A healthy blood pressure is one that is less than 120/80. High blood pressure is anything over- 140/90. Doctors are continuing to lower these numbers. Many doctors now feel that a good blood pressure– 110/70 and anything over 130/80 needs treatment.
You can change your blood pressure numbers with some dietary changes and weight loss
The good news for blood pressure was the research done at Tufts University in Boston. They found that feeding people more fiber such as oats, reduced the systolic blood pressure by an average of 7 points in 6 weeks. Systolic pressure is the pressure exerted as the heart beats. Diastolic is the residual pressure between beats.
Type 2 Diabetes, the most frequent type occurs when the body loses its ability to keep blood sugar levels under control. When diabetes is present, the body becomes insulin resistive. The body is unable to respond to insulin’s efforts to reduce blood sugar.
Many of our daily habits promote diabetes such as lack of exercise, being overweight, smoking, and a diet that lacks fiber.
Fiber and how it helps diabetes
The benefits of fiber are amazing.
Fiber has the ability to slow the movement of food out of the stomach. This gradual release of food slows the absorption of glucose into the blood, enabling a more controlling insulin response in your body. As the glucose begins to trickle into your bloodstream, your overall level of blood sugar remains steady.
So put some more fiber into your diet!
Some high fiber foods:
oats 3 oz 9 grams
orange 1 medium 7 grams
apple 1 medium 5 grams
acorn squash 1/2 cup 4.5 grams
banana 1 medium 4 grams
broccoli 1 cup 4 grams
red beans 1/3 cup 4 grams
Total fiber 37.5 grams — this is what you need each day to get your total of at least 35 grams a day.
Taken in part from: Watson, B. (2007) The Fiber 35 Diet: Nature’s Weight Loss Secret. New York, NY. Free Press.