High Fiber Foods and Heart Health Go Hand in Hand

by Jodee on December 18, 2009

Including high fiber foods in your diet can help to lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

The two types of dietary fiber are soluble and insoluble fiber.

Soluble Fiber

For heart health, include foods containing soluble fiber in your diet. This type absorbs liquid and acts as a natural stool-softener. Another way that consuming soluble fiber helps to keep the heart healthy has to do with the way that it binds with bile acids, which are found in the intestinal tract.

Bile acids contain cholesterol, and the body absorbs a certain amount of them naturally. When a sufficient amount of soluble fiber is consumed, a higher amount of bile acids are excreted and cholesterol levels are lowered.

The following foods contain soluble fiber:

  • Apples
  • Barley
  • Beans
  • Carrots
  • Citrus fruits
  • Flax seeds
  • Oats
  • Peas

Insoluble Fiber

Insoluble fiber is the type that we think of when we are concerned about irregularity. It doesn’t dissolve in water and helps to reduce the risk of constipation. A diet containing a high amount of insoluble fiber can also help to protect against diabetes.

Here are some examples of foods with insoluble fiber:

  • Nuts
  • Vegetables
  • Wheat bran
  • Whole grains

Other Advantages of Eating a High Fiber Diet

  • Eating a diet that includes high-fiber foods can help to reduce the risk of developing hemorrhoids.
  • Fiber also helps to lower blood sugar levels, since it slows down the absorption of sugar.
  • High-fiber foods are more filling and may help a person to feel full for a longer time. This strategy may help with losing weight or maintaining a normal weight.
  • A high-fiber diet may help to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Adding more fiber to the diet is not intended to take the place of regular checkups and screening for individuals who are at risk for this disease.


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