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The Heart Healthy Benefits of Fiber - Part 2

January 21, 2013

In this post, we will discuss the differences between two types of fiber and recommend ways to adopt a fiber-rich diet.

Types of Fiber

Fiber can be divided into soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Both types of fiber can be beneficial to your health.

  • the heart healthy benefits of fiberSoluble fiber is transformed into a gel when it enters your intestines, and it can slow down the process of digestion. It is the type of fiber that lowers cholesterol levels, and therefore, it is beneficial to your heart health. Examples of foods that are rich in soluble fiber are oatmeal, oat bran, barley, beans, nuts, apples, and strawberries.
  • Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, does not break down like soluble fiber. It can be found in foods such as wheat cereals, whole grains, tomatoes, carrots, and celery.

It is important that you include both soluble and insoluble fiber in your diet, because they are both effective in reducing the risk of heart disease. Many vegetables and fruits contain both types of fiber, and they include apples, pears, carrots, and beets.

Adding More Fiber to Your Diet

The Institute of Medicine Dietary Reference Intakes recommends that men consume 38 grams and women consume 25 grams of fiber every day. Daily intake for men and women who are 50 years old and above are 30 grams and 21 grams respectively. You can add more fiber to your diet gradually to reduce gas and bloating.

  • Eat more vegetables and fruits – Eat a minimum of 2½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruits every day.
  • Increase intake of whole grains – The parts of a grain that are rich in fiber are the bran and the germ. Whole grains are grains that include both bran and germ, and they are good for your heart.
  • Take fiber supplements – The best way to increase intake of fiber is to eat fiber-rich foods, but taking a fiber supplement also helps.

5 steps to healthy eating