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Health Benefits Of Fiber - Helpful Things You May Not Be Aware Of

Author : Erik Delosrios


If you're on the lookout for natural foods to keep your heart healthy, you might want to try increasing your fiber intake. Studies have shown that a high fiber diet has been shown to protect your heart in countless ways. This might seem strange, considering that fiber does not really go into the bloodstream. It makes sense that fiber aids in digestion-- that is, after all, where it is confined to. But unlike beta blockers or fish oil supplements, dietary fiber isn't digestible and thus cannot enter the bloodstream. So how does it figure heavily in protecting your heart?

The answer lies, first of all, in the fact that fiber is low in calories, takes longer to eat and makes one feel fuller for longer. Because of this, it has become an important dietary element in one trying to lose weight. When you have more dietary fiber in your meals, it also means that you are eating less of the other unhealthier food options around you. Moreover, the link between fiber and heart health also lies in the fact that when you manage your weight well, you are reducing your risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. In people with diabetes, dietary fiber has been shown to lower their blood sugar levels. This is important information for diabetics since heart disease and diabetes can present a deadly combination and increasing your fiber intake is hitting two birds with one stone. A high fiber diet simply translates to lowered bad cholesterol levels, lowered blood sugar and blood pressure levels.

There are two kinds of fiber that keep your heart healthy. Soluble fiber is the kind that turns into goo in your intestines and slows down digestion. It has been associated to lowered cholesterol levels. You can find this kind of fiber in oatmeal, bran, nuts, apples, beans and other fruits. Insoluble fiber, meanwhile, is the kind that does not break down and can be found in whole grains and vegetables. And although they are not digestible, they have been shown to lower a person's risk of heart disease.

So how much should you take to see the benefits of fiber and heart health? The recommended daily allowance of 20- 25 grams for women and 30-38 grams for men should suffice. Since it can be difficult to do this, there's a simpler way: Just eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. At least two cups of fruit and about 3 cups of vegetables a day should meet your daily requirements. Where you need to eat more whole grains, you also need to eat less of the refined ones. This includes white bread and other grains where bran and germ (what makes a grain "whole") are removed.

Studies have convincingly shown the link between fiber and heart health. However, you need to approach this with balanced health in mind. Eating only whole grain cereals to the detriment of everything else is not healthy, too. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains should be taken in the recommended amounts to fully experience the full spectrum of benefits fiber gives to your heart.


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Tags:   fiber, heart health, nutrition

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Submitted : 2011-03-01    Word Count : 563    Times Viewed: 174