A fiber-rich diet can work wonders on blood glucose and cholesterol levels
Eat. More. Fiber. Why? It provides a whole host of health benefits, including lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
Unlike carbohydrates, fats and proteins, dietary fiber can’t be digested by your body. It passes through your digestive tract and out of your body intact. There are two types of fiber. Soluble, which dissolves in water and helps lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels, can be found in apples, barley beans, carrots, citrus fruits, flaxseed, oats, peas and raspberries. Insoluble fiber doesn’t dissolve in water and helps move material through your digestive system, making it a good for folks who suffer from constipation. Cauliflower, green beans, nuts, potatoes, sunflower seeds and whole-wheat flour are excellent sources of insoluble fiber.
A Fiber-Rich Diet is Heart Healthy
According to the American Heart Association, a diet high in fiber-rich foods boosts heart health by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, which decreases cardiovascular risk. Insoluble fiber has even been found to slow the progression of heart disease in those most at risk of developing it.
A high-fiber diet also can prevent type 2 diabetes (or help better manage the disease in those who already have it) because it slows absorption of glucose. This is key because adults with type 2 diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease than their sugar-free counterparts.
The Institute of Medicine suggests that men age 50 and younger need 38 grams of fiber each day; women the same age should eat 25 grams daily. Men 51 or older need 30 grams; women the same age, 21 grams.