Insoluble Fiber & Heart Disease
Fiber, particularly insoluble fiber, not only cures a constipated stomach but also is a valuable dietary tool for preventing conditions such as heart disease.
Dietary fiber is found in plants; it is all the parts of a plant the body cannot break down. There are two types of dietary fiber--soluble fiber and insoluble fiber.
Insoluble fiber is fiber that does not dissolve in water. This fiber passes through the body relatively undigested, adding bulk to stool.
According to the American Heart Association, fiber reduces the risk of heart disease and slows the progression of cardiovascular conditions in high-risk patients. Insoluble fiber maintains healthy blood sugar levels when combined with soluble fiber, which is important for diabetics, who have a higher risk of developing heart disease.
Soluble vs. Insoluble Fiber
According to the National Institutes of Health, you need both kinds of fiber to prevent heart disease. Simply taking fiber pills (insoluble fiber) is not enough, because soluble fiber has been proven to lower cholesterol, and in combination with insoluble fiber, it helps control blood sugar levels. This combination of reduced cholesterol and controlled blood sugar levels cuts the risk of developing heart disease.
The National Institutes of Health recommends that adults consume a minimum of 20 grams of fiber a day. You can safely eat a larger amount of fiber (up to 40 grams for men under 50 years old), but you should drink plenty of water to help absorb and digest the fiber. Otherwise, you risk feeling gassy and bloated.
Insoluble fiber can be found in whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, seeds, fruit skins and root vegetable skins, and in many vegetables, including green beans and dark leafy vegetables.