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January 28, 2019 • Healthy Living

How to Protect Your Heart with Fiber

I consider fiber a secret weapon on the disease-fighting front and this provocative study reminds us to load up early and often for optimal heart health. In the study, scientists demonstrated that a high fiber diet in early-to-mid adult life was associated with a significantly lower lifetime risk of cardiovascular disease. The lead investigator described the results as “pretty amazing.” (American Heart Association Meeting, Atlanta, GA March 2011)

Health food concept for a high fiber diet with fruit, vegetables, cereals, whole wheat pasta, grains, legumes and herbs. Foods high in anthocyanins, antioxidants, smart carbohydrates and vitamins on marble background top view.

Adults should strive to consume 25 grams or more of fiber each day. Here are the best strategies for fiber success:

  • Consume as many fruits and veggies as possible. The superstars for fiber content include berries (raspberries #1), snow peas, apples, canned tomato products, pumpkin, cauliflower, avocado, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, okra and winter squash.
  • Eat more beans – strive for one serving daily. Measure for measure, beans provide more fiber than any other food (about 3-4x more than fruits/veggies). All of them are fiber superstars so choose what you enjoy the most. Don’t forget about bean dips like hummus which are delicious!
  • Make a high fiber cereal (at least 5 grams per serving) a part of your daily breakfast. There are at least 30 varieties/brands now available that fit the bill. Personally, one of my breakfasts of choice includes 1 cup mixed – fruit usually berries/apples (7 grams fiber), ½ cup high fiber cereal (5 grams fiber), ½ cup of Greek-style plain yogurt (2 grams fiber) and 2 tablespoons of wheat germ (2 grams fiber).
  • Eat physically intact whole grains– brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, barley, farro, etc vs. their refined, processed white counterparts.
  • Substitute 100% whole grain bread, crackers, etc., for their refined counterparts.Numerous brands are available. Check out the newer 100% whole grain crackers – Multigrain Wheat Thins, Triscuits, Ak-mak, Kashi Heart to Heart etc. Many provide 3 grams of fiber per serving.
  • Choose multigrain pasta over regular. I love the taste of Barilla Plus.


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