Whether dietary fiber can control cholesterol, which fiber type helps lower cholesterol, and where you can get soluble fiber? Read on…
Does Fiber Counteract Cholesterol?
Experts claim there is enough evidence to show that increasing fiber intake can help lower cholesterol.
Can all types of fiber lower blood cholesterol?
While there are many forms of fiber, they are two major types:
(i) Soluble fiber; and
(ii) Insoluble fiber.
Although both types are good for your health, it’s the soluble fiber that helps reduce cholesterol.
Soluble fiber gets dissolved in water, forming a gel-like substance in the digestive tract. On the other hand, insoluble fiber cannot dissolve in water, so it passes through the digestive tract relatively unchanged.
However, it is said that soluble fiber can only lower “bad” cholesterol (LDL); and minimally affect “good” cholesterol (HDL) and triglycerides. On the other hand, insoluble fiber does not seem to affect cholesterol levels but is beneficial in maintaining a healthy colon.
How does soluble fiber lower cholesterol?
Soluble fiber binds to cholesterol in the small intestine. Once inside the small intestine, the soluble fiber attaches to the cholesterol particles and stops them from entering the bloodstream and traveling to other body parts. Instead, the cholesterol particles exit the body as waste through the stool. Once excreted, they are no longer available to build more cholesterol.
In addition, soluble fiber also slows digestion and so helps prevent blood sugars from spiking.
Soluble fiber has been shown only to counteract LDL cholesterol. Thus, if you also want to lower your triglycerides or improve your HDL, soluble fiber may not help you with this since the effect can only be minimal to no benefit.
Now coming to insoluble fiber, although this type of fiber has many health benefits, it does not lower cholesterol levels.
From Where You Can Get Soluble Fiber?
According to the National Lipid Association (NLA), eating five to ten grams of soluble fiber per day can help reduce LDL and total -cholesterol by five to eleven points, and sometimes more. To get at least five to ten grams of soluble fiber per day, eat different foods with one to three grams of soluble fiber every day.
Important Note: Make sure to drink more water when increasing your fiber intake.
Foods High in Soluble Fiber
Whole grains: One-half cup of cooked barley, oatmeal, oat bran, and quinoa provide one to two grams of soluble fiber.
Vegetables: One-half cup cooked of broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cabbage, sweet potatoes, green beans, okra, turnips, onions, parsnips provide one or more grams of soluble fiber.
Fruits – A medium apple, orange, banana, pear, peach, guava, two apricots or plums; ½ mango; ¼ cup figs or dried apricots or three prunes, or 1 cup of blackberries, raspberries, or strawberries provide one or more grams of soluble fiber.
Lean protein foods: One-half cup of beans, such as black-eyed peas; chickpeas; black, kidney, lima, navy, pinto, or soybeans, provide 1 to 3 grams of soluble fiber per.
Healthy fats: Two tablespoons of avocado or one tablespoon of whole chia seeds, or two tablespoons of ground flax seeds can provide one or more grams of soluble fiber.
- Increasing soluble fiber intake is one of the best eating habits you can have to decrease cholesterol after 50.
- You should not solely depend on fiber to lower your cholesterol level.
- Men should try to eat at least 30 to 38 grams per day, while women should aim for at least 21 to 25 grams of fiber per day.
Whereas fiber supplements can meet your fiber needs, we don’t recommend that. Instead, you should eat a healthy diet. While meeting your fiber needs, Fruits and vegetables also provide essential nutrients, such as vitamins and minerals that you don’t get through a fiber supplement.
About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He passed Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, USA obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me, age is just a number!”