We know that heart disease is the number one killer of Canadians. We also know that it can be prevented and/or effectively treated by maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and eating well.
One of the stumbling blocks for some people is cholesterol. Scary thought: Most people eat less than half of the recommended amount of fibre, despite that fact that more and more studies reveal that high-fibre diets can lower the risk of coronary disease than low-fibre diets.
What exactly is cholesterol? It is a sticky waxy-like substance that clings to the inside of your arteries. Cholesterol is found in animal products such as meat, egg yolks, dairy products, shrimp and lobster. These products are part of a healthy lifestyle when eaten in moderation.
We also make cholesterol in our liver. We need cholesterol in our bodies for hormone production, cell metabolism and other vital processes, but too much may cause problems.
So, looking for a way to lower your cholesterol? Try adding more fibre to your diet. Soluble fibre decreases your body’s ability to absorb the saturated and trans fats that you consume and dietary cholesterol that your body naturally makes.
Simply start substituting higer-fibre foods where lower-fibre foods would have been. Drink lots of water while you’re doing it, though; you need to keep your bowels working well!
Eat whole grain breads, cereals, pasta and rice; the bran and the germ part of the grain have heart healthy compounds.
Add some soluble ﬁbre to your diet; 10 to 15 grams per day is recommended. Foods such as barley, psyllium and ground ﬂax seeds are all high in soluble ﬁbre. Here are more examples.
- Barley, cooked, 125 mL (8.1 g)
- Prunes, 125 mL (3.9 g)
- Flaxseed, ground, 60 mL (2.3 g)
- Apple, medium = 1.0 g
- Fruits, whole, medium, citrus = 1.1 to 1.9 g
- Pear, medium = 1.0 g
- Banana, medium = 2.7 g
- Squash, 125 mL (1.4 g)
- Corn, 125 mL (1.3 g)
- Broccoli, 125 mL (1.2 g)
- Bread, multigrain = 0.5 to 1.0 g
- Legumes,125 mL (0.5 to 1.4 g)
- Nuts (about 10) = 1.2 g
Add any grain product containing psyllium ﬁbre, such as bran cereal. It contains 4 grams soluble ﬁbre in 80 mL (1∕3 cup). Add it to your regular morning breakfast cereal, in yogurt, in low fat, low sugar pudding or simply as a dry snack.
Even if your cholesterol levels are fine, a high-fibre diet is good for you – fibre is your friend.
Check out our high-fibre recipes at http://chicken.ca/recipes/category/high-fibre/