If you have heart issues, bad cholesterol, or high blood pressure, a low-sodium, low-fat, high-fiber diet is probably best for you. These diets are naturally low in saturated and trans fats, high in phytochemicals, high in carbohydrate-rich foods, and provide a lot of vitamins and minerals. You cannot go wrong eating a lot of whole grains, especially wheat germ and buckwheat, along with fruits and vegetables to improve your heart.
Fiber supplies no nutrients and very few calories, but provides the body with many different chemical substances, each with differing physical properties. These chemical substances promote biological functions in our bodies. Fiber is an indigestible complex carbohydrate found in plant foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.
There are two types of dietary fiber:
- Soluble Fiber dissolves in water, forming a gel-like substance in our intestines. Research studies show that soluble fiber binds to the bile acids in our intestines, which helps reduce blood cholesterol. Chemically, it works to help reduce or prevent the absorption of specific substances into our bloodstreams. Food sources include oats, barley, kidney beans, black-eyed peas, seeds, brown rice and some fruits and vegetables.
- Insoluble Fiber does not dissolve in water. It passes through our digestive system and actually absorbs water like a sponge, adding weight to our bile or stool. This kind of fiber increases the speed of elimination of our bile. Health experts believe that this process improves the overall health of our body because this process reduces the amount of time harmful toxins (stored in our bile) are able to come in contact with our intestinal cells. Food sources include whole grains, especially wheat, and some fruits and vegetables
What’s good about both types of fiber is that they make you feel full or content, and you are not as hungry. Simply put, fiber’s benefits include:
- Enhancing our body’s ability to normalize blood cholesterol and blood glucose levels
- Improves our bowel function
- Helps us lose or maintain our weight