Do you want to get more for your money from the food you eat and the supplements you take? Fiber is made to do precisely that. Fiber is not digested and absorbed into our bodies. But it is the key to the use of those nutrients that are. Recommendations for daily intake of fiber range from 20-35 grams. Some societies consume 40-60 grams daily. Gradually introducing fiber-rich foods into our meals is the best route to take and with more exercise we are able to tolerate more fiber.
With two kinds of fiber to choose from, it gets easier to maintain a healthful amount of fiber in our diets. Water-soluble fiber (dissolved by water) slows down the progress of food through the intestinal tract and allows more time for absorption. This quality helps to control blood sugar levels. Also this decreases the need for insulin. We know now that this plays a significant role in keeping cholesterol levels low. This slowed digestion process has a dramatic effect on the prevention of cardiovascular disease. This benefit is a key factor for those who want to improve this condition. Fruit and beans contain water-soluble fiber. Pears have high fiber content with 9 grams/cup. Cooked lentils have 16 grams/cup.
Insoluble fiber breaks up congestion in the intestinal tract and keeps it tidy. Thus it maintains a larger surface area for the absorption of nutrients. Vegetables and grains contain insoluble fiber. One pound of carrots has 14 grams and All-Bran has 17.6 grams/cup. Water is necessary with insoluble fiber, but it is best added in between meals.
A sketch of a fiber-balanced diet would look like this:
Breakfast-3 pieces of fruit-5 grams
Lunch-1 cup of cooked beans with vegetables-10 grams, a salad-5 grams
Supper-cooked vegetables such as potatoes, yams, turnips with rice or bread-5-10 grams
Oats, barley and psyllium contain both soluble and insoluble fiber.
As the organs return to their intended purposes, there will be more capacity to savor the sweet abiding of Christ and His words will drench every fiber of our being.
This fiber-rich brownie has soluble and insoluble fiber and tastes…well, you’ll have to try it!
Fiber Brownie (10 grams of fiber per recipe)
2 T. roasted carob flour
2 T. wheat germ
1 T. psyllium powder
1 T. coconut oil
1 T. honey
Mix all ingredients together with a fork. It takes a few minutes. Then shape with your hands into a 2-inch square. Enjoy!
Recommended Reading: New Choices in Natural Healing, Prevention Health Books
by Ann Walton
Heart disease in women differs greatly than in their male counterparts. This series is intended to educate everyone on the extent of heart disease in women. In Part one I want to emphasize the extent of the problem. Did you realize that cardiovascular disease (CVDZ) is the number one cause of deaths in females? 1in 5 females have heart disease, yes that equates to nearly 8 million in the United States. Less than 10% of women realize that CVDZ is the number 1 cause of death. 1 in three deaths are related to CVDZ, whereas 1in 30 deaths are related to breast cancer. 38% of women die within one year of their heart attack compared to 25% of men. The life time risk of developing CVDZ is 32% and the lifetime risk of breast cancer is 13%. Have I got your attention yet?
A recent New England Journal article (NEJM Vol.356 NO.5) states that women who are exposed to air pollution have a higher number of cardiovascular events. This disease has gender differences. More women than men die from CVDZ each year. Why are there differences and what should we do about it? Why do women have more “silent heart attacks”? Why are women under informed about heart disease? Is the fairer sex under more stress? Do they eat more chips?
I hope I have your attention. Let’s define what cardiovascular disease entails. Any problem with the heart or blood vessels would fall into this category. This would include heart attacks, high blood pressure, strokes, aneurysms, funny heart beats, problems with the heart valves, and any “blockage” of a blood vessel anywhere in the body. Yes, this is a broad disease. Most deaths are related to blockages in the blood supply to the heart-leading to heart attacks (50%). The list would also include heart failure and even inflammation of the lining of the heart which is called pericarditis. A slow or fast heart beat could also be a manifestation of cardiovascular disease.
Let me get back to our goal in Part 1 which is to emphasize the problem. Did you realize that after the age of 65, one in three women have CVDZ? As February is dedicated to heart health, I want you to spend a moment in thinking about your heart health. I do not want you to be a statistic. God has great plans for you. In Part two, we will start to explore the symptoms and tests used to diagnose CVDZ. If you have specific questions send them in.
by James L. Marcum, M.D. FACC
Fast Food Fruit
How many of us have a sweet tooth in the morning? Have you ever thought of having a fruit breakfast? Three to four pieces of appetizing, no prep fruit suits any lifestyle.
Pomegranates, figs, grapes, mangoes, strawberries are meant to delight and cheer us with God’s love as we begin our day.
The human body is designed to be cleansed inside every day. And you guessed it! There is no better way than with the high-water content, the perfect packages that are fruit. Fruit works best when eaten alone and will heal the digestive system with time.
The beauty of a fruit breakfast is that we can get our day off to a good nutritious start and have time to thoroughly enjoy our Bible study. The Savior’s requirements are not burdensome. His ways are a delight.
They will run and not grow weary. Isaiah 40:31
For many years we have known the benefits of regular exercise. We were created to be active people. Scripture talks about dancing before the Lord, running, working, fishing, rowing and walking. Current medical literature continues to reinforce the many beneficial aspects of regular physical activity in maintaining optimal health. The benefits include maintenance of a healthy weight, weight loss, blood sugar control, stress management and blood pressure reduction. This article summarizes some of the recently published medical literature highlighting the many physical benefits of exercise.
Anxiety is often under recognized and undertreated, particularly in individuals with chronic diseases like diabetes, chronic pain syndromes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. At times it can be difficult to distinguish between the symptoms of the chronic disease and anxiety. What makes anxiety worse is that anxious patients are less likely to follow recommended treatments. Thus quality of life decreases and disability increases. A recent analysis published February of 2010 in the Archives of Internal Medicine reviewed 40 studies with a variety of illnesses including cancer, cardiovascular disease, lung disease, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, chronic pain and panic disorders. Exercise programs ranged from 3 to 12 weeks in duration. Of note, most non-habit forming anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs take 4-6 weeks to take effect. Review of the studies demonstrated the exercise training significantly decreased anxiety and fatigue scores among patients with chronic illness. Better mental health outcomes were documented the exercise sessions greater than 30 minutes.
Coronary artery disease
Coronary artery disease is the number one killer of Americans today. Unfortunately the first sign of heart disease is often sudden cardiac death. In a recent study published in the Journal Circulation reviewed over 18000 patients from 41 countries who were hospitalized with unstable angina (cardiac chest pain) or acute coronary syndrome (heart attack). It was shown that patients who adhered to both a diet and exercise program had lower rates of heart failure (weakened pumping function of the heart), increased weight loss, decreased odds of having another heart attack, stroke and death.
Bone Mineral Density
Osteoporosis, a diagnosis of decreased bone mineral density is a disease that affects many elderly people in western cultures. The most feared risk of this disease is bone fracture leading to pain, reduced mobility, physical disability and even death. The Senior Fitness and Prevention study published in January of 2010 was designed to determine if an exercise program would reduce bone fracture risk in women. 227 women 65 years of age or older completed the 18 month long program. Bone mineral density increased and fall risk decreased in the exercise group compared to the control group. There was a 50% lower occurrence of bone fractures in the exercise group.
Exercise has previously been shown to improve cognitive function in animals and additional data has been developing that shows that it can improve cognition, planning, organization, multi-tasking, inhibition and working memory in humans as well. Studies have also shown that increased aerobic fitness in elderly adults reduces age related brain atrophy and increases blood flow to areas of the brain related to executive control and memory. In a study recently published in the Archives of Neurology evaluated the effect of a high- intensity aerobic group compared with a stretching program in 33 adults with mild cognitive impairment between the ages of 55 to 85. Evaluation of cognitive function and metabolic functions were measured at baseline, three month and six month intervals. The study demonstrated that individuals in the high intensity aerobic exercise group had demonstrated improvement in cognition and sugar metabolism. Both groups improved in fitness and had a decrease in body fat. Women in particular were found to have improved performance in executive function, decreased fasting blood sugars and other metabolic functions
Stroke, the sudden development of a focal neurological deficit such as facial weakness, often manifested by the inability to speak or the loss of the ability to move the arm or leg is caused by sudden loss of blood flow to the brain. It can be caused by blockage of blood vessels by cholesterol plaques, a blood clot, bleeding, damage to the blood vessels or inflammation of blood vessels that feed the brain. A recent study published in the Journal Stroke reviewed data collected from 39,315 female health professionals that participated in the Women’s Health Study. The average age of the women was 54. The women were followed for approximately 12 years. Women who reported increased leisure time physical activity had a decreased rate of ischemic stroke. In particular increased walking time and pace were associated with lower risks of total, ischemic and hemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke. Women who were most active in their leisure time were 17% less likely to have any type of stroke.
The bottom line is that regular physical activity can improve our health in many ways. The American Heart Association recommends that healthy people participate in a moderate to vigorous aerobic activity for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. Vigorous activities include brisk walking, hiking, jogging, bicycling, swimming, stair climbing and rowing. Some organized sports such as soccer or basketball that involving continuous running can also be included. Moderate intensity activities include walking, gardening, yard work, housework, and dancing. Recreations sports that do not involve continuous running such as tennis, racquetball and touch football are other ways to incorporate moderate activity into your daily routine.
How do I get started?
The American Heart Association recommends that some people consult their doctor before they start a vigorous exercise program. See your doctor or other healthcare provider if any of these apply to you:
If you don’t have any of the above conditions the American Heart Association recommends that you start on a gradual sensible program of increased regular activity. It is helpful if you pick an activity that you enjoy and can perform this activity with friends or family members. This will increase the likelihood that you will continue to incorporate regular physical activity into your lifestyle. Remember, if you start increasing your physical activity and develop any new physical symptoms, especially those listed above you should contact your doctor right away.
Paul reminds us that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you. 1 Corinthians 3:16. Let is all do what we can to maintain the body that God created so that we can realize that fullness of life he intended for us.
by Lisa Umphrey, MD