Lower Cholesterol With These Top Foods
As I’ve shared with you before, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of American men. But just because it gets most men doesn’t mean it has to get you. What most men don’t realize is that with some simple changes it’s possible to dramatically lower your risk. And when you do that, you get to enjoy a healthier, longer, happier life.
In this newsletter I share with you lots of tips for improving heart health. In today’s article I’m going to share with you yet another. I’m going to give you a powerful way you can improve your heart healthy. And all you have to do is include some of the foods I’m going to tell you about in your diet more often. Don’t worry, because these are enjoyable foods that you’ll love to eat more of.
It’s All About The Fiber
What all of the foods that I’m going to share with you today have in common is that they are good sources of something called soluble fiber.
When most of us think of fiber, we probably think of unappetizing foods like bran flakes. But that’s not the type of fiber we’re talking about today. In fact, the type of fiber in bran flakes, called insoluble fiber, can actually be irritating to your digestive system in excess. And people with irritable bowel syndrome can’t eat much of it.
Soluble fiber, on the other hand, is a gentle, nutritious type of fiber that is naturally found in lots of delicious foods. For example, avocados (think: guacamole), berries, oranges, onions, winter squash, and oatmeal are all excellent sources of soluble fiber.
Soluble fiber doesn’t have any of the harsh and irritating effects of insoluble fiber. Instead, it is soothing and nutritious. It increases the amount of nutrition you can extract from the food you eat by increasing nutrient absorption. And, importantly, is feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut. What that means is that it increases the amount of important antioxidants in your body. And the result, among many benefits, is improved cardiovascular health.
Studies show that soluble fiber has a direct effect on cardiovascular health. Men who eat the most soluble fiber have the healthiest cardiovascular systems. And as a result, their cholesterol levels are super healthy.
You may remember from previous articles that cholesterol isn’t bad. In fact, cholesterol is protective. However, when cholesterol levels in the blood are high it indicates that there is damage to the blood vessels.
Since cholesterol is protective, drugs that artificially force cholesterol levels lower don’t make people healthier. In fact, they can be dangerous. But natural solutions that improve the health of the blood vessels - solutions like eating more soluble fiber - do work.
How To Eat More Soluble Fiber
The average American man eats only 15 grams of total fiber per day. Of that, less than half is soluble. That’s a diet quite low in soluble fiber, and as a result, many men suffer poor cardiovascular health.
However, it turns out that it’s pretty easy to increase the amount of soluble fiber you eat. Here are some suggestions.
First off, soluble fiber is found primarily in plants and less so in animal-based foods. So eating more fruits and vegetables is a great way to increase the amount of soluble fiber in your diet.
Fruit juices are low in fiber, so eating whole fruits is preferable. Try snacking on a piece of fruit when you want to grab something between meals. And if you want to drink your fruit, instead of opting for juice, consider a smoothie instead. Blending whole fruits includes the fiber but makes eating fruit more convenient.
At each meal be sure to include at least one serving of fruits or vegetables. For example, if you’re going to eat a sandwich, load it up with some sliced vegetables. A burger is better with lettuce, tomato, and pickles. And then have some vegetables on the side as well. A cold potato salad or a side of mashed potatoes provides some soluble fiber in a tasty form. Or, if you’re cooking at home, enjoy some sweet potatoes and onions sauteed in butter.
Oatmeal is a great source of soluble fiber. So enjoying oatmeal in the morning is a good way to increase your soluble fiber intake. Add to that a hefty handful of some berries and you’re already ahead of the average American man.
And finally, beans are some of the best sources of soluble fiber around. Beans are surprisingly easy to incorporate into your diet in tasty ways. For example, add some hummus to your sandwich. Try a side of white bean spread to dip some vegetables into. Enjoy any number of delicious bean soups from minestrone to black bean or even something more exotic. There are classics such as baked beans, chili with beans, and bean burritos. And for convenience, you can purchase canned beans. Just be sure to look for BPA-free canned beans and soups. BPA is an hormone disruptor and estrogen mimic used in the linings of many canned foods. Look for labels that state BPA-free.
Heart health, like health in general, isn’t ever as simple as just one thing. So increasing soluble fiber is just part of an overall healthy lifestyle that can help you to thrive and feel great. But it’s an important part. And by following the simple guidelines in this article, you’ll be way ahead of the average American man.