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How does fiber help my heart?

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
Fiber is a form of indigestible carbohydrate found mainly in plant foods. Fiber can produce a slight decrease in both total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Perhaps more significantly, a number of studies show that fiber helps to prevent heart disease and reduce the risk for a heart attack. The Institute of Medicine recommends 38 grams of fiber per day for men and 25 grams for women ages 50 and younger; men and women over 50 should get 30 and 21 grams per day, respectively.
Ximena Jimenez
Nutrition & Dietetics
Fiber is definitely heart healthy. Soluble fiber found in oats, barley and some fruits and vegetables help reduce bad cholesterol. Fiber foods also reduce triglycerides which is the type of fat that circulates in your blood. Both LDL or bad cholesterol and triglycerides are risk factors for heart disease. Also foods with fiber are good sources of potassium which reduces blood pressure. Start eating more whole grains, legumes and dark green vegetables!
Joane Goodroe
Nursing
A study indicates that foods with lots of fiber can be good for the heart, and that people who start early get more benefit. Reported by Northwestern University of Chicago, adults who reported eating the most fiber had the lowest predicted lifetime risk of heart attack and stroke. Dr. Ning reported that the greatest benefit was seen in younger people, age from 20 to 39.”
There are two main types of dietary fibers: soluble and insoluble. Both types are important in your diet -- but soluble fiber has special benefits for your heart. Soluble fiber limits the amount of cholesterol your body can absorb. Especially if you already have high cholesterol, fiber can lower your levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol. And lowering your cholesterol can reduce your risk of heart disease. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends 25-38 grams of total fiber intake per day, with 10-15 grams of the total being soluble fiber.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.