Lower your cholesterol the easy way. eat more fiber.
Lisa Nelson, RD, LN, writes on HealthCentral.com, "Do you have high cholesterol? Increase your fiber! Do you have high blood pressure? Increase your fiber! Are you overweight? Increase your fiber!" She's right. Dietary fiber binds to cholesterol in circulation and helps remove it from the body. Research has shown that for every 1-2 grams of daily soluble fiber intake, LDL (bad) cholesterol is lowered 1%.
Two Types of Fiber
1. Insoluble fiber remains relatively intact as it passes through the digestive system. The primary function of insoluble fiber is to move waste through the intestines and maintain intestinal acid balance. Sources include: Fruit skins and root vegetable skins Vegetables (green beans, celery, cauliflower, zucchini, beets, turnips, potato skins, and dark green leafy vegetables) Wheat and whole-wheat products Wheat oat Corn bran Seeds and nuts.
2. Soluble fiber, by contrast, is the type of fiber responsible for lowering total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Sources include: Oat and oat bran Legumes (dried beans and peas) Nuts Barley, rye Flaxseed Fruits (i.e. oranges, apples, prunes, plums, berries) Vegetables (i.e. carrots, broccoli, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions) Psyllium husk
How Much Fiber Do You Need?
Shoot for 25-35 grams of dietary fiber everyday. Of this, soluble fiber should make up 15 grams. The average US dietary fiber intake is 12-18 grams/day. If your current diet is very low in dietary fiber, don't increase to 35 grams overnight. A sudden increase will result in gastrointestinal (stomach) distress and unpleasant side effects (flatulence and diarrhea). You want to increase your fiber intake gradually.
Read more about High Fiber Foods You Can Snack On.