Whether you're spending Valentine's day with bae, planning virtual Valentine's festivities with your besties or preparing to treat yourself in celebration of your single-dom, this time of year should be all about love! Over time, however, this annual holiday has become less about kind words, flower bouquets and warm sentiment. Instead, it has become synonymous with chocolates, candy, and sweet treats, all brimming with sugar, loaded with food dyes and generally lacking in nutritional value, most notably fibre.
For a season full of hearts, this hardly seems like the kind of love we should be showing to our own! It's high time we take a look at the vital role fibre has to play in overall heart health and the benefits it can provide to the cardiovascular system.
1. Lowering LDL Cholesterol & Reducing Risk of Heart Disease
Low-density lipoproteins, or LDL, are often referred to as the "bad" cholesterol because high levels can create a buildup that collects in the blood vessels. This makes it difficult for the heart to function correctly and increases the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke.
Prebiotic fibres, which are soluble, soak up water and become gel-like in the stomach and intestines, blocking cholesterol absorption into the bloodstream, keeping arteries clear and functioning correctly.
2. Regulate Body Weight by Supporting Microbiome
Weight management is key to maintaining a healthy heart as obesity places undue stress on the cardiovascular system, leading to severe complications.
One of the key-functions fibre plays is the support it offers the body's microbiome. Unlike other foods, fibres are indigestible and therefore pass by the stomach and small intestines to the large intestine. Nearly 100 trillion bacteria cells, known as gut flora, live in the large intestine and help the body properly metabolize both carbohydrates and fats.
Prebiotics feed, fertilize and stimulate the growth of good, probiotic bacteria while helping to minimize pathogens in order to maintain a balanced microbiome
High-fibre diets also create the feeling of being full both during and in between meals. This suppression of appetite and reduced cravings makes it easier to balance food intake without feeling hungry.
3. Balances Blood Sugar
While all fibres from a wide range of sources are essential, it has been conclusively proven that soluble fibre improves blood sugar management. The liver functions as the body's glucose reservoir and plays an integral part in regulating blood sugar levels. Fibre can signal the liver to slow sugar production and the release of glucose into the bloodstream. Balancing blood sugar levels eliminates stress on both the heart and the metabolism process.
4. Reduces Insulin Resistance
Insulin is a hormone that regulates the level of sugar in the blood, but the body's responsiveness to insulin can vary and significantly impacts heart health.
Fibre improves insulin reception by slowing the body's breakdown of fat stores. It does so by producing postbiotics, including short-chain fatty acids (SCFA'S), during the intestinal tract fermentation process. Research has shown that SCFA's created by the gut microbiota can improve insulin sensitivity. It also delays gastric emptying, regulating the rise and fall of blood sugar levels in between meals.
We understand that the half price chocolate in the days following February 14th can be tempting. To satisfy your sweet-tooth we recommend you pair a Crazy D beverage with some 85% - 95% dark chocolate which is a source of soluble fibre and will keep you truly heart happy!