Have you heard about the fiber health fad? Health food is now being linked with a high percentage of fiber content in food, no Trans fat and low calories – and rightly so.
Generated from the coattails of whole grains and other prebiotic ingredients, fibers are of two kinds – soluble and insoluble. They’re increasingly used as food additive for their absorption of dietary cholesterol which alleviates the symptoms of high blood pressure, chronic heart ailments and other problems associated with high levels of fat and cholesterol in the blood.
So, what is so appealing about fiber and why is it being used as an important aid for reducing cholesterol?
Dietary fiber refers to roughage or bulk. It is basically a collective term for carbohydrates found in plants. These fibers cannot be absorbed or ingested by the human digestive system. While the soluble fibers dissolve partially in water to form a gel like substance, insoluble fibers fail to do so and increase stool bulk.
Soluble fibers are found in oats, beans, apples, carrots, barley, peas, citrus fruits and psyllium. Their insoluble counterparts are found in wheat bran, nuts, whole-wheat flour and many vegetables.
Cholesterol is basically a soft and waxy substance present in lipids (fats). They are found in the bloodstream and reach all your body cells. Cholesterol carrying lipo-proteins are of two types—high and low density lipoprotein. LDLs are the major carriers of cholesterol and builds up in the arteries as plaque—leading to a blockage of the arteries and heart attacks. So, it’s important to prevent the excessive accumulation of cholesterol in the blood.
Fiber and Cholesterol Reduction
Proper intake of fiber leads to improved digestive health, effective weight management, lowered cholesterol levels and decreased risk of diabetes type II. An increase in the intake of fibers leads some side effects like flatulence, defecation and bloating. These are also the characteristics of laxatives – that are useful in removing gas and wastes from the digestive tract and reducing the formation of cholesterol in the blood.
Fibers increase the binding and faecal elimination of bile acids. Intake of fibers leads to a larger loss of sterol – which in turn contributes to the reduction of cholesterol levels in the blood.