Dietary fiber is the name for certain carbohydrates which come from vegetables, plants, and grains that the body can’t digest fully. But do you know that it has benefits for the heart?
Health authorities say it has been established in numerous studies that diets high in fiber are associated with lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels, lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure, lower risk of heart disease and diabetes, and healthier weights and lower rates of obesity.
Studies have shown that soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran helps lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol levels.
Researches show that high-fiber foods like sweet potato, fruits like apple or raisins, dry beans, bran, oatmeal, brown rice and whole grain bread lower the rapid rise in blood sugar levels that occurs after eating foods with high carbohydrate content. As they slow down the absorption of carbs in the intestinal tract, they help to blunt the impact of eating carbs in people who have diabetes type 1 or type 2.
Several major studies also have shown a strong association between increased fiber intake and lower blood pressure. A study published in “Journal of Hypertension” in 2004 followed 110 participants with higher-than-normal blood pressure. After the 12-week trial in which participants received 8 grams per day of soluble fiber, both systolic and diastolic readings were lowered across the board. Researchers concluded that fiber may have a beneficial effect on blood pressure and called for further studies. (Tawid News Team)