Fiber is an important element of a heart-healthy diet because it can lower your blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels. Fiber is actually indigestible and passes through the body whole, taking with it a host of bad stuff you don’t want hanging around.
There are actually two types of fiber: insoluble and soluble. Soluble fiber dissolves in water into a kind of gel that helps to reduce both cholesterol and sugar in the bloodstream. Insoluble fiber feeds the healthy bacteria in your gut and also attracts water into your colon, making it easier to pass stool.
Where to get it:
Whole grains are critical because eating a diet rich in them has been shown to prevent dangerous thickening of artery walls. Choose whole grain breads and eat lots of brown rice, barley, quinoa, and oatmeal.
Vegetables and fruits in general contain a lot of fiber, but broccoli is especially good for this. Broccoli’s cruciferous relatives like cabbage, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts are also particularly high in fiber.
Popcorn is an excellent snack for adding fiber to your diet as long as you don’t drown it in butter and salt. A drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of your favorite spice blend makes popcorn delicious and adds to the health value as well.