This item in our series on “How To Lower Cholesterol” deals with increasing natural fiber.
We know that when we go about selecting recipes for lower cholesterol in our diets, reducing our consumption of saturated fats and substituting them with unsaturated types is going to reduce our intake of additional cholesterol and better balance our overall cholesterol levels. Here we look at decreasing our cholesterol through diet.
Increasing your fiber intake is a strategic part of how lower cholesterol is achieved through diet! It is certainly one of the major players in the lower cholesterol foods line-up. While all fiber is helpful to the body, an increase in the amount of soluble fiber will have the greatest effect on reducing cholesterol.
How it Works
Fiber forms the framework structure of plants. Although it can not be directly absorbed by the body, it is neverless extremely healthy. As well as being good for cholesterol reduction it contains lots of nutrients and is available in abundant quantity and variety. There are two types of dietary fiber: insoluble and soluble.
The insoluble fiber goes through the digestive system without being broken down and exports much as it enters. It passes through the body quickly and promotes regularity and good bowel health.
The soluble fiber on the other hand dissolves into a gel like material and slows down the passage of digested material along the small intestine. It has the effect of decreasing the quantity of bile reabsorbed into the intestines and to compensate for the bile loss, the liver manufactures bile salts, which use cholesterol.
To make these salts, the liver produces more LDL receptors which are the agents that remove the cholesterol from the blood stream, hence lowering your cholesterol levels. Further good news – the effect is pro-rata, therefore, the more fibre you eat, the more the liver produces bile salts and the more cholesterol removed from your system!
It is generally considered that a mixture of the fibers as found in most fruits and vegetable is a good choice.
Recommendations are that for people up to the age of 50, a fiber intake of at least 38 grams of per day is needed for men and at least 25 grams for women. Over 50 the amounts can be reduced, but it would seem a better bet to keep your intake of these foods and their percentage of your diet as high as possible.
Fiber is found in plants, therefore a good intake of fruits and vegetables together with legumes (beans) and whole grains, taken in place of processed foods, both within recipes and on their own, is a great way to lower cholesterol.