University of Illinois Extension
 

How is fiber related to cardiovascular disease?

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Fiber is a food component that comes from plants. Animal foods like meat, milk, eggs, and cheese do not contain any fiber. Foods that do contain fiber include:

  • Whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, and rice
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Some soy products

It is important that everyone consume foods rich in fiber, but for people with diabetes or high cholesterol, fiber can be an added benefit. Studies have shown that 25-35 grams of fiber daily can reduce your risk of having a heart attack by as much as 40 percent. Diets high in fiber can also reduce LDL cholesterol levels, and may even lower blood pressure. Some research has even shown that higher fiber diets can help lower high blood glucose levels.

Tips for Increasing Fiber Intake

  • Eat foods like whole grain breads and cereals, oatmeal, nuts, dry beans, peas, lentils, fruits, and vegetables often. Try to have one or two of these foods at each meal.
  • Choose products labeled as a “good” or “excellent source of fiber” these labels will be on the front of food packages.
  • Remember to eat five servings of fruits or vegetables each day.

Sample Menu for Increasing Fiber Intake

Menu 2

Breakfast

  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • 6 ounces skim milk
  • 1/2 grapefruit

Lunch

  • 1 sandwich (2 ounces of meat on 2 slices of whole wheat bread)
  • 1/2 cup coleslaw
  • 1 banana

Dinner

  • 3 ounce chicken breast
  • 1/3 cup brown rice
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 1 medium apple
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce salad with 1 tablespoon low-fat dressing
  • 8 ounces skim milk

Nutrition Information

Calories 1360 kilocalories Total Carbohydrate 195 grams
Total Fat 22 grams Breakfast 60 grams
Saturated Fat 5 grams Lunch 60 grams
Carbohydrate 195 grams Dinner 60 grams
Fiber 27 grams

Back to: Eating for Cardiovascular Health

This document is a source of information only, and is not medical advice.