How Fiber Helps Control Cholesterol
A diet for high cholesterol calls for more than trimming the fat. Find out how foods high in fiber can help you keep cholesterol in check.
Eating certain foods, such as those high in saturated fats, can increase harmful cholesterol levels, but what you eat can also play a positive role in your cholesterol levels. For one, eating fiber-rich foods can actually help lower cholesterol. Scientists are still trying to determine the exact mechanism by which fiber lowers cholesterol, says Linda V. Van Horn, PhD, RD, a registered dietitian and professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern Universitys Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
Whats clear is that the cholesterol-controlling benefits are due to soluble fiber, one of two types of fiber. Soluble fiber is found in the flesh of fruit such as pears and apples, vegetables like peas, and whole grains, such as oats and barley. The second important type of fiber, insoluble fiber, is indigestible and also a necessary part of a healthy diet, but not for controlling cholesterol its the kind that helps with digestion.
There are also practical reasons that foods with soluble fiber may help with managing cholesterol, Van Horn says: These foods tend to be lower in fat and more filling than foods without fiber. That means youre more likely to stick to your diet and achieve a healthy weight with a diet rich in high-fiber foods.
Fiber to Lower Cholesterol: The Research
Diet for High Cholesterol: Food High in Fiber
Enjoy Lots Of Fruits And Vegetables
Studies show that adults who consume at least four servings of fruits and vegetables each day have roughly 6% lower LDL cholesterol levels than people who eat fewer than two servings per day .
Fruits and vegetables also contain high numbers of antioxidants, which prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing and forming plaques in your arteries .
Together, these cholesterol-lowering and antioxidant effects can reduce your risk of heart disease.
Research has found that people who eat the most fruits and vegetables have a 17% lower risk of developing heart disease over 10 years compared to those who eat the fewest .
Summary Eating at least four servings of fruits and vegetables daily can lower LDL cholesterol levels and reduce LDL oxidation, which may reduce your risk of heart disease.
How To Lower Cholesterol Naturally In 28 Simple Steps
There are tons of natural remedies out there for how to lower cholesterol levels, often promising quick results with next to no effort required on your part. But while its true that there are tons of options to keep cholesterol levels in check, it can actually be as simple as swapping out a few foods in your diet for healthier options, switching up your workout routine or adding a supplement or two into the mix.
Ready to get started? Lets take a look at 28 simple methods for how to lower cholesterol and how it can impact your health.
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So How Do We Get More Fiber
Women and men should get 25 and 38 grams of dietary fiber per day, respectively, per the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
It only takes 5 to 10 grams of soluble fiber per day to help lower LDL cholesterol levels, according to the National Lipid Association. Not sure what that looks like? A cup of cooked oatmeal topped with two tablespoons of flaxseeds and berries can provide 3 grams of soluble fiber. Snack on a small orange and a banana, and you’re already at at least 5 grams of soluble fiber by lunchtime.
Fiber is present in all plant foods, but some sources offer up more of the good-for-you roughage than others. Here are some great sources of soluble fiber:
And if you’re struggling with high cholesterol, note these foods to eat sparingly:
- Fatty cuts of meat
- Processed meats
- Full-fat dairy products
- Processed foods containing trans-fatty acids aka partially hydrogenated oils
Cholesterol And Its Role In Our Bodily Functions
What is cholesterol, and why can it be harmful?
Cholesterol is a type of fat found throughout our bodies. You may think that all cholesterol is badânot true. Cholesterol plays a role in important bodily functions like stress responses, reproduction, nutrient absorption, and the protection of our cells. Cholesterol becomes problematic when excess cholesterol starts traveling through and sticking around in our blood. If too much of it builds up inside our arteries, the build-up of plaque increases the risk of heart attacks and strokes. In short, high cholesterol is a risk factor for developing coronary heart disease.
How do cholesterol levels rise?
Molecules known as lipoproteins carry cholesterol from the liver, where cholesterol is made, to the cells that need it to carry out critical bodily functions. These lipoproteins also carry cholesterol back to the liver to be eliminated from the body. Lipoproteins called low-density lipoproteins take cholesterol to the bodyâs cells, while high-density lipoproteins facilitate the removal of the cholesterol from the body. Because LDLs work to distribute cholesterol through the bloodstream, whereas HDLs work to rid the body of excess cholesterol, LDLs and HDLs are often referred to as âbadâ fats and âgoodâ fats, respectively. When people have âhigh cholesterol,â it means that they have elevated levels of LDLs, or âbad fatsâ in their blood.
How can fiber combat high cholesterol?
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Two Types Of Fiber: Soluble & Insoluble
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.
Increase Fiber To Decrease Cholesterol
The CDC says 36% of Americans have high cholesterol. They also report that only 10% of Americans eat enough vegetables and fruits. These foods are big contributors of fiber in our diet and fiber helps to lower levels of blood cholesterol. Guess what that means? Yes, you guessed it. Americans dont get nearly enough fiber in their diet!
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How Can I Reduce My Cholesterol Naturally & Why Is Cholesterol Management Important
The best way to reduce your cholesterol is by reducing your stress, lowering your blood sugar levels, and eat a diet good in fiber content.
How can I reduce my cholesterol naturally & why is cholesterol management important?
The best way to reduce your cholesterol is by reducing your stress, lowering your blood sugar levels, and eat a diet good in fiber content. When you are stressed out or hungry, the liver will make more cholesterol. Eating fewer fruits and vegetables also increases cholesterol due to the negative effects of high fructose corn syrup which increases triglycerides because it’s metabolized differently than other sugars. A low-fat diet does not automatically reduce cholesterol; decrease fat intake can help maintain healthy levels, but high levels of stress or emotional tension can lead to higher levels of LDL-C despite healthy eating habits.
Eating a lot of whole grains and fiber, using coconut oil as your main fat for cooking instead of animal fats, and avoiding high-cholesterol foods like meat and eggs. High cholesterol is the enemy to heart health, brain health, pelvic health , eye health among other things. The good news is that not only can you lower it by eating right and exercising but if youre overweight or someone who doesnt eat enough vegetables you can supplement with Omega 3s like krill oil or fish oils. There are also natural supplements that contain red yeast rice or FenuGerin.
Study Drugs And Fiber
Rosuvastatin , Simvastatin/Ezetimibe were gifts from AstraZeneca and Merck Co, respectively. The passion fruit peel flour was purchased from Tango alimentos . The composition of passion fruit peel flour was analyzed by Centro de Ciências e Qualidade de Alimentos , which revealed that 44 g of flour corresponded to 45 kcal of total energy, being 25 g of total fiber, 6 g of soluble fiber, 5 mg of campesterol, and 35 mg of -sitosterol.
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When Should I Take Metamucil
To get the cholesterol-lowering benefit, take 1 teaspoon of Sugar-Free Metamucil with a full glass of water no more than 15 to 30 minutes before a meal.
The psyllium needs to be in your GI tract the same time as your meal. Once it reaches your stomach, it starts dissolving into a gel-like substance. It binds with the bile acids that form cholesterol, and in doing so, mops up cholesterol. More cholesterol ends up in your bowel movements, and less ends up being reabsorbed in the blood.
A diet full of whole, naturally-fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, legumes , and whole grains is far more effective than supplements like Metamucil for lowering LDL cholesterol.
Why Is Fibre Good For Your Heart
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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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.
Blood Sample Collection And Assays
Lipids and biochemistry
Biochemical analyses were performed in samples obtained after a 12-hour fasting period at baseline and after 12 weeks of treatment in a central laboratory of our university using automated techniques . Serum cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol, and triglycerides were determined by automated methods . LDL-cholesterol was calculated using the Friedewald formula . Glycated hemoglobin was assayed by high-performance liquid chromatopraphy , apolipoprotein A1, apolipoprotein B, and highly-sensitive C-reactive protein were determined by nephelometry .
Phytosterols and desmosterol
For the quantification of beta-sitosterol and campesterol , as well as for desmosterol we used ultra performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry . Briefly, these sterols were quantitated in plasma samples by a method developed and run by Synchrophar, Campinas, SP, Brazil. The sterols were detected as its free forms, i.e., non-esterified, monitoring the ions with m/z, 367.30 for desmosterol, 397.25 for -sitosterol and 383.60 for campesterol. The levels of compounds were determined by comparison of peak response against a calibration curve from 0.5 g/mL to 10.0 g/mL. Samples presenting higher levels than 10.0 g/mL were diluted to compare with calibration levels. Results were transformed to mg/dL.
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Eat Fewer Added Sugars
Its not just saturated and trans fats that can raise cholesterol levels. Eating too many added sugars can do the same thing .
One study found that adults who consumed 25% of their calories from drinks made with high-fructose corn syrup experienced a 17% increase in LDL cholesterol in just two weeks .
Even more troubling, fructose increases the number of small, dense oxidized LDL cholesterol particles which contribute to heart disease .
Between 2005 and 2010, an estimated 10% of Americans consumed over 25% of their daily calories from added sugars .
According to a 14-year study, these people were almost three times more likely to die from heart disease than those getting less than 10% of their calories from added sugars .
The American Heart Association recommends eating no more than 100 calories of added sugar per day for women and children, and no more than 150 calories per day for men .
You can meet these goals by reading labels carefully and choosing products without added sugars whenever possible.
Summary Getting more than 25% of your daily calories from added sugars can raise cholesterol levels and more than double your risk of dying from heart disease. Cut back by choosing foods without added sugars as much as possible.
Focus On Monounsaturated Fats
As opposed to saturated fats, unsaturated fats have at least one double chemical bond that changes the way they are used in the body. Monounsaturated fats have only one double bond.
Although some recommend a low-fat diet for weight loss, a study of 10 men found a 6-week, low-fat diet reduced levels of harmful LDL, but also reduced beneficial HDL .
In contrast, a diet high in monounsaturated fats reduced harmful LDL, but also protected higher levels of healthy HDL.
A study of 24 adults with high blood cholesterol came to the same conclusion, where eating a diet high in monounsaturated fat increased beneficial HDL by 12%, compared to a diet low in saturated fat .
Monounsaturated fats may also reduce the oxidation of lipoproteins, which contributes to clogged arteries. A study of 26 people found that replacing polyunsaturated fats with monounsaturated fats in the diet reduced the oxidation of fats and cholesterol (
Monounsaturated fats like those in olive oil, canola oil, tree nuts and avocados reduce the bad LDL, increase the good HDL and reduce the oxidation that contributes to clogged arteries.
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How Fiber Helps Blood Sugar And Cholesterol
Every fiber helps blood sugar and cholesterol by slowing the breakdown and absorption of fat and sugar from your food and help stop spikes in blood fat and blood sugar that usually occurs after eating. They also stop the absorption of some cholesterol and fat, thereby lowering your cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
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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