High-fiber diet helps heart too, expert says

High-fiber diet helps heart too, expert says
Learn to read food labels closely, he advises.

(HealthDay)—Eating a high-fiber diet does more than promote digestive well-being; it's also good for your heart, an expert says.

Dietary fiber from fruits, vegetables, and beans "has been shown in research to help lower cholesterol," Jody Gilchrist, a nurse practitioner at the Heart and Vascular Clinic at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, said in a university news release.

"Most nutrition experts say that a person needs at least 25 grams of fiber a day as part of a balanced diet," Gilchrist said. "The recommends that a good rule of thumb is 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed, and at least 10 grams should come from soluble fiber."

Soluble fiber makes you feel full quickly, which helps control how much you eat. Research has shown that soluble fiber also helps lower "bad" by interfering with how the body absorbs cholesterol from foods.

Foods high in soluble fiber include oat bran, oatmeal, beans, peas, rice, bran, barley, citrus fruits, strawberries and apple pulp, Gilchrist said.

Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the diet, helps prevent constipation and is the fiber that does the most to keep your digestive tract healthy. Foods high in insoluble fiber include whole-wheat breads, most whole grains, cabbage, beets, carrots, turnips, cauliflower and apple skin.

When buying groceries, read carefully, Gilchrist said. Many items that list oat or as ingredients, such as muffins and waffles, actually contain very little bran and can have high amounts of sugar, sodium or fat.

"If you are buying something packaged and not a raw food, such as fruits or vegetables, look for the American Heart Association Whole Grain heart check mark on labels," Gilchrist said. "It's a good way to make sure what you are getting is good for your heart."

Another way to boost your fiber intake is to add to coffee, yogurt, cereal, soups and other foods. Just be sure to increase your fiber intake slowly and drink plenty of water, Gilchrist said.

More information: The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about fiber.

Related Stories

New forms of dietary fiber to boost health

Dec 08, 2010

High-fiber foods are on the way to becoming tastier and more appealing to consumers thanks to new types of dietary fiber now under development. These consumer friendlier forms of fiber, which could be a boon to health, are ...

Load up on fiber now, avoid heart disease later

Mar 22, 2011

A new study from Northwestern Medicine shows a high-fiber diet could be a critical heart-healthy lifestyle change young and middle-aged adults can make. The study found adults between 20 and 59 years old with the highest ...

Recommended for you

New technologies help people with heart disease

1 hour ago

People taking part in cardiac rehabilitation exercise programmes are likely to maintain healthy behaviours for longer with text message and web-based support, according to recent research from the University of Auckland.

A novel pathway for prevention of heart attack and stroke

Aug 21, 2014

A recent Finnish study could pave the way for preventing brain and cardiac ischemia induced by atherosclerosis. Finnish researchers have found that the low-expression variant of fatty acid-binding protein 4 (FABP4), which ...

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

humy
not rated yet Mar 03, 2013

This article is very seriously flawed. It says fiber:

"has been shown in research to help lower cholesterol,"

Which, if true, would be totally irrelevant because the standard theory that cholesterol is the cause of hart disease has been scientifically been debunked and never had any evidence to support it in the first place!

If also makes the false claim that:

"Research has shown that soluble fiber also helps lower "bad" LDL cholesterol by interfering with how the body absorbs cholesterol from foods."

Research has NOT shown this! That is because blood cholesterol DOES NOT COME FROM FOOD but, rather, is made by the body itself.
tekram
not rated yet Mar 03, 2013
It is most likely that water-soluble fibers lower the (re)absorption of in particular bile acids. As a result hepatic conversion of cholesterol into bile acids increases, which will ultimately lead to increased LDL uptake by the liver. Additionally, epidemiological studies suggest that a diet high in water-soluble fiber is inversely associated with the risk of CVD. These findings underlie current dietary recommendations to increase water-soluble fiber intake.