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Fitness & Wellness

Does Fiber Help With Cholesterol Levels?

At Body Sculptors in Louisville, KY, clients get the benefit of both diet and exercise expertise. We provide personalized diets that can help you lose weight, lower blood pressure, normalize cholesterol levels and more. They’re based on your needs, preferences, and goals. Many of the diets contain foods higher in fiber since fiber can provide many benefits for the body. It’s often underrated, but necessary for a healthy body.

Fiber has two forms.

Dietary fiber has two varieties, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel. It’s a prebiotic, feeding beneficial microbes in your digestive tract. Insoluble fiber doesn’t digest but provides bulk for your stool to prevent both constipation and diarrhea. Fiber slows digestion, so it helps regulate blood sugar levels and aids in maintaing healthy blood cholesterol levels.

It’s the soluble fiber that lowers your cholesterol levels.

Soluble fiber attaches to cholesterol, binding to it and preventing it from getting into your bloodstream, then going to all parts of the body. That fiber and cholesterol complete the digestive process and exit the body via feces. It only lowers LDL—bad cholesterol—not triglycerides. It doesn’t increase the amount of good cholesterol—HDL—either. Studies show that it can reduce your LDL by 18% if you eat about 30 grams of fiber a day.

You’ll get other benefits from fiber, besides lower cholesterol.

If you want to lose weight, fiber can help. Fiber can make you feel fuller longer. That means you won’t eat as much or snack as often. If you’re trying to lose weight and want to increase your fiber, do it slowly. You can increase it too much, too fast. It takes a while for your body to adjust to the increase and too much can cause excessive gas, bloating and stomach problems. Increase it slowly, over a two week period, to avoid the effects.

Food that contains high amounts of soluble fiber include, but aren’t limited to, most types of beans, Brussels sprouts, avocado, sweet potato, and apples. Insoluble fiber is found in food like green beans, potatoes, and wheat bran.

Fiber makes you feel fuller longer, so it can help you lose weight. The foods high in fiber are often lower calorie, providing bulk and satiety, but not high amounts of sugar.

When you increase your fiber intake, you’ll improve your microbiome. Beneficial bacteria and other microbes feed on the fiber. They ferment it in the colon, which produces byproducts that kill pathogens and bad bacteria.

If you have insulin resistance, it can make losing weight more difficult. Increasing fiber can help reduce insulin resistance. Oats, beans, broccoli, and other high fiber foods can help.

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