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High-Fiber Diet Keeps Heart Healthy

Update Date: Mar 04, 2013 08:51 AM EST
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Eating a diet that's high in fiber can help your heart stay in good shape for long, according to experts from University of Alabama, Birmingham.

Dietary fiber, the kind that you get from fruits and vegetables, add no nutrition to your diet. However, fiber adds bulk in the food, making its passage easy. A diet high in fiber also helps you keep your weight under check by making you feel full faster and longer, according to Medline Plus. Fiber should be added slowly to diet as higher amounts of fiber can lead to gas and cramps.

Experts recommend a dietary fiber intake of 14 grams (0.4 oz) per 1000 kcal for adults or 25 grams (0.8 oz) for adult women and 38 grams (1.3 oz) for adult men. Fiber has recently been found to be good for the heart as well.

"Most nutrition experts say that a person needs at least 25 grams of fiber a day as part of a balanced diet. The American Heart Association recommends that a good rule of thumb is 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed, and at least 10 grams should come from soluble fiber," said Jody Gilchrist, a nurse practitioner at the Heart and Vascular Clinic at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, reports HealthDay.

Previous research supports the idea that increasing intake of dietary fiber lowers blood pressure and reduces cholesterol levels.

Fiber also interferes with the way bad cholesterol or LDL is absorbed in the body, thus keeping heart healthy, reports Healthday.

Gilchrist added that people need to check the nutrition label on packaged food products to know if the product has enough fiber.

"If you are buying something packaged and not a raw food, such as fruits or vegetables, look for the American Heart Association Whole Grain heart check mark on labels," Gilchrist said, reports Healthday. "It's a good way to make sure what you are getting is good for your heart."

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