A lot of people don’t think about how fiber actually plays a pretty vital and important role in managing heart health. Fiber is found in most foods, but there are certain foods that are specifically beneficial for improving your heart health. There are two types of fiber - soluble and insoluble, and some types of fiber-rich food actually contain both.
Fiber is also either considered to be either "dietary" or "functional." Dietary fiber is typically found in the indigestible part of plants that we eat, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, and nuts. Functional is usually extracted or made in a lab (in supplements or fiber-enriched food).
According to WebMD, most experts say not to overthink getting in that fiber since usually a proper and balanced diet will help you get the most of it anyway.
So, why fiber?
1. Lowers cholesterol
Soluble fiber can help reduce both “bad” LDL and overall cholesterol in general. High-fiber foods like oats, beans, etc. can also help reduce inflammation and blood pressure.
2. Controls blood sugar levels
It is recommended that people with diabetes consume fiber, which helps to slow the absorption of sugar and potentially improve blood sugar levels. A diet that includes insoluble fiber may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
3. Helps to manage weight/aids in weight loss
High-fiber foods are typically more filling than low-fiber foods, meaning you’ll be a lot less likely to overeat and gain weight. Therefore, you’ll feel satisfied for much longer. Additionally, high-fiber foods usually take longer to eat and are less "energy-dense," meaning they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.
4. You live longer!
Yes, studies have actually shown that increasing dietary fiber intake can help you live longer. This is because it shows a reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and all cancers.
Be sure to choose foods rich in fiber, and stock up on more every time you go shopping!