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How Does Fiber Help Lower Blood Cholesterol

Why Is Fibre Good For Your Heart

How Fiber Lowers Cholesterol

As well as keeping your gut healthy, eating more fibre has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Studies have found that people who eat more fibre have a lower body weight, lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol which is great for your heart health. There are a number of possible reasons for these effects.

  • Fibre can help you to feel full, which helps prevent overeating. This can help you maintain a healthy weight, which is good for blood pressure, blood sugar control and cholesterol management.
  • Certain soluble fibres form a gel-like substance in the gut. This includes the fibre in oats, barley and pulses. It helps delay or reduce certain nutrients from being absorbed into your blood, such as sugar and fats including cholesterol.
  • Some types of fibre provide food for friendly gut bacteria. This encourages the bacteria to thrive and produce substances which are thought to be protective for heart health. These can have a number of benefits such as helping to lower cholesterol.

Fibre may also be a marker for an overall healthy diet. If your diet contains a lot of fibre, its likely that youre eating lots of plant foods which contain other important nutrients for heart health, such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and plant compounds.

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Fiber: The Carb That Helps You Manage Diabetes

Fiber can help manage your diabetes and reduce the risk of complications, like heart disease.

Fiber is part of a healthy diet and can provide a range of health benefits. It can be especially important in preventing or managing diabetes. Learn more about the surprising role of fiber.

We all need fiber to keep our internal plumbing humming like a fine-tuned engine. But most US adults only get about half the fiber they need each day. You wouldnt skip out on maintaining your car with the necessary gasoline and oil, right? Then why do it to your body?

Heres the scoop. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. It helps keep you regular, but it offers many other health benefits as well, especially for people with diabetes or prediabetes.

How Fiber Protects Your Heart

Lisa Cimperman has a family history of high cholesterol and heart disease, so she knew she had to watch what she ate. But a few years ago she decided to take things a step further, when a routine test revealed that her cholesterol had crept up to 210 — borderline high for a woman in her 30s who is otherwise pretty healthy.

Cimperman, a clinical dietician at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, replaced nearly all of the lean meat in her diet with fiber-rich beans, chickpeas, lentils, and legumes.

A year later her cholesterol level had dropped 30 points.

Her experience is far from unique. Several studies have shown that fiber you get naturally from food, as part of an overall healthy diet, can help to protect your ticker. It lowers cholesterol, reduces the risk of stroke and type 2 diabetes, and helps with weight loss.

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What Are Saturated Fats

Saturated fats are generally solid or waxy at room temperature and are most often found in animal products and tropical oils. The following foods contain saturated fats:

  • Fatty cuts of beef, pork, lamb, veal, and the skin of poultry.
  • Hot dogs, bacon and high-fat luncheon meats, such as salami and bologna.
  • Full fat and processed cheeses, cream cheese.
  • High-fat dairy products, such as whole milk, cream, half and half, butter and sour cream.
  • Lard, bacon fat, sauces and gravies made from animal fat.
  • Most fried foods and fast foods.
  • Tropical oils â palm, palm kernel and coconut.
  • Baked goods made with lard, butter or tropical oils.

How Fat And Cholesterol In Food Affect Blood Cholesterol Levels

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The types of fat in the diet help determine the amount of total, HDL, and LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. The types and amount of carbohydrate in the diet also play a role. Cholesterol in food matters, too, but not nearly as much.

  • The discovery half a century ago that high blood cholesterol levels were strongly associated with an increased risk for heart disease triggered numerous warnings to avoid foods that contain cholesterol, especially eggs and liver. However, scientific studies show a weak relationship between the amount of cholesterol a person consumes and his or her blood cholesterol levels
  • In studies of more than 80,000 female nurses, Harvard researchers found that consuming about an egg a day was not associated with higher risk of heart disease. However, people who have heart disease or diabetes should monitor egg consumption.

For most people, the amount of cholesterol eaten has only a modest impact on the amount of cholesterol circulating in the blood. For some people, though, blood cholesterol levels rise and fall very strongly in relation to the amount of cholesterol eaten. For these responders, avoiding cholesterol-rich foods can have a substantial effect on blood cholesterol levels. Unfortunately, at this point there is no way other than by trial and error to identify responders from non-responders to dietary cholesterol.

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There Are Two Types Of Fiber

One type is called innsoluble fiber. It remains relatively intact as it passes through the digestive system. The primary function of insoluble fiber is to move waste through the intestines and maintain intestinal acid balance.

The other is called soluble fiber is the type of fiber responsible for lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels.

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Reduce Consumption Of Red Meat

LDL cholesterol is also known as the bad cholesterol because it collects in the walls of your blood vessels and is known to clog your arteries. An essential part of any low LDL cholesterol diet is to reduce the amount of meat you eat as it increases LDL cholesterol. Trendy and popular diets, such as the keto diet, encourage dieters to eat significantly high-fat meals that include red meat. However, adopting a diet that consumes high amounts of red meat and other animal products, has been linked to much higher cholesterol and a variety of other health problems so it is always important to consult your physician before adopting these kinds of diets.

Most animal products, such as turkey and pork, cause some increase in cholesterol. However, red meat has a significant impact on increasing cholesterol. While reducing your intake of beef and pork, try substituting for fish or poultry in your recipes. A simple swap like chicken fajitas instead of beef fajitas can have a big impact on your overall cholesterol.

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Why Fiber Lowers Cholesterol

We all know that high levels of LDL cholesterol in our blood is a bad thing. But did you know that our bodies actually need cholesterol to function?

When we eat, the liver and gallbladder squeeze bile into the intestine to help digest food. It turns out that bile contains a lot of cholesterol. In fact, one of the ways our body uses LDL cholesterol is to make bile. Because our systems are very efficient, any leftover bile from the digestive process gets reabsorbed into the blood stream increasing our levels of LDL cholesterol.

That means a good way to lower LDL cholesterol levels in our blood is to prevent cholesterol in unused bile from being reabsorbed.

The original cholesterol-lowering medications worked by leveraging this internal cholesterol circulation. They were called bile acid resins or bile acid sequestrants and they trapped unused bile inside the gut so that you would eventually excrete it out. These resins worked pretty well, but were unpopular because they were messy to use, had to be taken with meals, and often caused intestinal upset. When statins came along, these medications all but disappeared from use.

To get the most out of this effect, you have to consume your fiber WITH food.

What Is The Ideal Cholesterol Level

Metamucil to Lower LDL Cholesterol with Metamucil (with Dr. James OKeefe)

The ideal blood cholesterol level is below 150 milligrams per deciliter , based on the results of the Framingham Heart Study and other research. At that level, heart disease is very unlikely. Unfortunately, nearly 107 million Americans have cholesterol levels that are greater than 200 mg/dL, which is dangerously close to 225 mg/dLthe average cholesterol level of coronary artery disease victims.

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The Benefits Of Fiber

It seems that your moms nagging you to eat your fruits and vegetables wasjustified. Getting your roughage is important. Roughage, what we now refer toas fiber, is the indigestible portion of food that travels through thedigestive system virtually intact. While dietary fiber has no nutritionalvalue, it can have a profound impact on health, including lowering the risk forcertain types of cancer, lowering blood cholesterol levels and minimizing thecomplications of diabetes. In addition, it may even aid appetite control.

Fiber can be classified into two categoriessoluble and insoluble, dependingon its ability to bond with water molecules. The loosely knit chemical bonds offiber molecules allow them to pick up water molecules in the course of theirjourney through the digestive system. Soluble fiber molecules readily acceptand retain water, whereas insoluble fibers are more rigid and crystalline instructure and have few available bonds for water molecules.

Not only can fiber bond with water, but fiber molecules also bond withsubstances such as hormones, bile acids and potential carcinogens. Because ofthis, fiber plays an important role in preventing the following:

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How To Know If Psyllium Is Right For You

At your wellness check-up, your doctor orders a blood test to check your cholesterol levels, which is measured in milligrams of cholesterol per deciliter of blood. The ideal LDL cholesterol level is less than 130 mg/dL in patients without heart disease.

If LDL cholesterol comes back at 190 mg/dL or above, our prevention guidelines recommend lifestyle modification before initiating lifelong drug therapy with statin medication,” Dr. Simon says.

Such modifications will likely include recommendations to exercise 20 to 30 minutes five days a week, lose weight if necessary, and eat a healthy diet, such as American Heart Association’s Step 2 diet, to lower cholesterol, Dr. Simon says.

Most people will comply to some degree, Dr. Simon says, but they may be unable to get their LDL down to 130 mg/dL before their follow-up appointment. At that point, many doctors will prescribe statin drugs.

Were now also recommending that patients consider taking psyllium before starting drug therapy, Dr. Simon says. In patients who are making reasonable lifestyle modifications, this natural vegetable product is helpful in lowering cholesterol up to 10 percent possibly even higher in some patients.

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How Much Does Metamucil Lower Ldl Cholesterol

In a meta-analysis1 of 8 studies involving 384 people with high cholesterol levels who had been following a low-fat diet for several weeks, adding psyllium supplementation lowered LDL cholesterol an additional 7%.

Another well-designed study,2 from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, found that 197 people who had been taking psyllium for 6 months netted LDL cholesterol levels that were 6.7% lower than the 51 people in the placebo group.

The Amount Of Fiber You Need

How Does Fiber Lower Cholesterol? (pros and cons)

The minimum daily recommended intake of fiber for adults is:

· 50 years and below Men: 38g and Women: 25g

· 51 years and above Men: 30g and Women: 21g

Theres actually no better way to reduce the risk of diabetes and other related diseases than consumption of fiber. You really dont have to wait until you are in your fifties before making fiber an important part of your diet. Right from now, start working towards being healthy in old age.

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Health Benefits Of Dietary Fibre

The digestive system is lined with muscles that massage food along the digestive tract from the moment a mouthful is swallowed until the eventual waste is passed out of the bowel .

As dietary fibre is relatively indigestible, it adds bulk to our faeces andkeeps the digestive system healthy.

It also important for other body functions (such as:

  • keeping our weight under control
  • stabilising glucose which is important if you have diabetes
  • reducing our risk of other conditions .

How To Read A Food Label

Food labels are standardized by the U.S. governments National Labeling and Education Act . Nutrition labels and an ingredient list are required on most foods, so that you can make the best selection for a healthy lifestyle. Review the food label below. Determine the total amount of fiber in this product or ask your registered dietitian or healthcare provider to show you how to read food labels and apply the information to your personal needs. In order for a product to be labeled high fiber, it must contain 5 grams or more of dietary fiber per serving.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/15/2019.

References

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The Role Of Fiber In Our Bodies

Dietary fiber is a plant-based nutrient, and it is a type of carbohydrate that our bodies cannot digest or absorb. Instead, it passes through your stomach, small intestine, and colon and out of your body, helping with digestion and relief from constipation. Food rich in dietary fiber includes fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. There are two types of fiber important for health, digestion, and disease prevention: soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fiber attracts water while its in your gastrointestinal tract and turns to a gel during digestion, which slows the digestion process. Soluble fiber is found in barley, oats, peas, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, and some fruits and vegetables like apples, citrus fruits, and carrots. It is also found in psyllium, which is a common ingredient in fiber supplements .

Insoluble fiber is found in whole wheat flour and bran, whole grains, nuts, beans, potatoes, and vegetables like cauliflower and green beans. It promotes movement of food through the stomach and intestines by providing bulk to stools, helping to alleviate constipation.

Two Types Of Fiber: Soluble & Insoluble

CAN PSYLLIUM FIBRE HELP TO LOWER LDL CHOLESTEROL?

There are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. While both are important for your health, soluble fiber is the one that helps to lower blood cholesterol levels. It dissolves in water to form a gel, which moves slowly through the intestines grabbing up fat, dietary cholesterol, bile salts, and sugar to be excreted. Once excreted, these are no longer available to build more cholesterol.

Our bodies build 80% of the cholesterol we contain, and fiber helps to remove too many building blocks. Then the cholesterol that does get made has to go do its jobs instead of hanging out in our bloodstream and getting deposited in our arteries. This reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.

The average Americans fiber intake is less than 15 grams per day this is considered a low fiber diet and is only recommend to individuals who have specific gastrointestinal issues. Women need to aim for 25 grams of fiber per day, while men need 38 grams. Its important to increase fiber gradually and to drink plenty of water to avoid stomach troubles.

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What Are Some Guidelines To Increasing Dietary Fiber

This guide provides basic information to help you increase fiber in your diet. Fiber is an important dietary substance to your health. Most fiber-containing foods are also good sources of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which offer many health benefits. A registered dietitian can provide in-depth nutrition education to help you develop a personal action plan.

What Is The Difference Between Hdl And Ldl Cholesterol

Cholesterol doesnt dissolve in blood. To be transported in the bloodstream, cholesterol is packed into two types of carriers: low-density lipoproteins or high-density lipoproteins . LDL cholesterol, which is sometimes known as bad cholesterol, is necessary in limited quantities , but high LDL cholesterol levels can dramatically increase your risk of a heart attack. Thats because LDL particles can contribute to atherosclerosisor clogged arteries. HDL cholesterolsometimes called good cholesterolhelps clear LDL cholesterol from the arteries.

When doctors measure cholesterol levels, they first look at total cholesterol as a quick way to assess a persons risk. For a more exact guide, they divide the total level by the HDL level. Heart attack risk is minimized by having a lower total cholesterol and a higher proportion of HDL cholesterol. The ratio of total cholesterol to HDL should be less than 4 to 1.

Unfortunately, the average American man has a ratio of 5 to 1. Vegetarians, on the other hand, average about 3 to 1. Smoking and obesity lower HDL vigorous exercise and foods rich in vitamin C may increase it.

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More Sources Of Soluble Fiber

Keep in mind, too, that psyllium is not the only fiber that helps lower cholesterol levels. All soluble fibers can help reduce LDL cholesterol. Foods naturally rich in soluble fiber include:

  • Beans and peas all beans, such as pinto beans, red beans, garbanzo beans, and soybeans
  • Yams, plus sweet potatoes and other potatoes
  • Oats, such as oatmeal and oat bran
  • Berries all berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries
  • Vegetables such as carrots, beets, okra, and eggplant

The Pritikin Eating Plan recommends all the above soluble-fiber-rich foods.

Consuming Good Carbs Means More Daily Fiber

Is Fiber Bad For You?

Unfortunately, most of us are consuming fewer than 20 grams of fiber per day. I know many people who shy away from the carbs in whole grains, beans, and fruit, thus missing out on all that healthy fiber. But heres the deal: theres good carbs and bad carbs, and whole grains, beans, and vegetables are all good, folks. Its the quality of the carb that counts. Worried about gassy effects? In the short term, start low and use simethicone as needed. Your body will become accustomed over time, and the effects will diminish.

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