If you’re concerned about your cholesterol levels and want to bring them down, you really need to get acquainted with fiber. It might just be your best friend in giving you the support you need.
Fiber includes non-digestible carbohydrates that aren’t broken down and absorbed in your digestive tract for energy. Instead, it moves through your body to perform some unique functions.
There are two main types, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber, in particular, may greatly impact lowering cholesterol. Insoluble fiber can also indirectly impact cholesterol levels, in the sense that eating more of them in place of foods that boost cholesterol can help bring down levels.
But soluble fiber can actually bring down existing “bad” LDL cholesterol.
It forms a gel-like substance in your intestines to slow down digestion. It also traps cholesterol and prevents your body from reabsorbing it. The caught cholesterol then leaves your body in stool/
The bacteria in your gut also feed on soluble fiber. The effect of this is two-fold for cholesterol levels. The healthy bacteria fiber can help promote both the excretion of cholesterol and the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) to reduce cholesterol synthesis in the liver, ultimately lowering blood cholesterol levels.
Research suggests that eating 25-34 grams of fiber per day, with soluble fiber representing at least 6 grams, would help reduce cholesterol by 5 to 10 percent.
What are some healthy soluble fiber-rich foods that may help you reduce cholesterol?
Oats are one of the best. One study showed that eating just under one cup (70 grams) per day for four weeks was able to reduce LDL cholesterol by more than 11 percent.
Legumes, like beans, peas, and lentils, are also great. Apples, avocados, and flax seeds are also excellent sources of soluble fiber.
Fiber intake isn’t the only tool you can use to help reduce cholesterol, but it is a good place to start.