Fiber to Lower Cholesterol and Improve Health

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A recent New York Times article, You Probably Aren’t Getting Enough Fiber…Here’s why that’s a problem, and how to fix it, caught my attention. It’s been a long time since I wrote about fiber and I was intrigued because fiber is a key tool for naturally lowering cholesterol and improving health.

The author, Alice Callahan, notes in the article that “…just 4 percent of men and 12 percent of women met fiber recommendations — at least 21 to 38 grams per day, depending on a person’s age and sex.”  So, many of us are likely fiber-deficient, which is a shame because it’s really not that hard to add fiber daily.

And more importantly: those who consume enough daily fiber are, “31 percent less likely to die of coronary heart disease.”  31 percent!  And that’s not even counting the other health benefits a fiber-rich diet provides, like lowering the risk of both colorectal cancer and diabetes.

So how difficult is it to eat enough dietary fiber?  It’s not that hard, actually.

My key strategy is to load up at breakfast and then add high fiber foods (that are ‘regular’ foods that I like!) during the day. That gets me pretty easily to 25-30 grams of fiber without resorting to any “weird” high-fiber foods (other than the chia seeds in my easy-to-make overnight oats, which I highly recommend as it’s simple, healthy & delicious). So getting enough fiber is something anyone can easily do, really. Here’s what I do:

Breakfast = 15.5 grams:

  • 1/4 cup overnight oats PLUS 1 TB of Chia Seeds = 6.5 grams
  • 1 TB of Metamucil = 9 grams

Lunch = 10-15 grams:

Dinner:  ???  I think of fiber at dinner as a bonus.

Snack = 4 grams:

  • 3 cups home-cooked popcorn: 4 grams

Looking for a wider assortment of “regular” foods, that might include, say, fruit?  (Sadly, I’m not a big fruit fan!) Well, one thing I loved about this particular NYT article is the list the author includes of “12 fiber-filled foods and the amounts of fiber they supply per serving.”  What’s great about this particular list is that they are REGULAR foods like raspberries and avocado, not a list that says “legumes.”

Oh, and about oatmeal and fiber: ANY oatmeal is good for fiber!  It’s a fallacy that it has to be “steel cut” oats; it does not! In fact, Steel-Cut oats and Rolled oats and even Instant Oats all deliver roughly 4-5 grams of fiber per serving.

Two important things to note when adding fiber to a daily diet: up your fiber intake slowly (not all at once!) and make sure to also increase the amount of water you drink daily.

Want more in-depth information about fiber and heart health? Here are a couple of resources with information about fiber and how it can help lower cholesterol and improve health:

My blog posts:

Excellent Medical-Based Resources:

Adding Soluble Fiber to Lower Your Cholesterol







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