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Fiber and Cholesterol

As part of a heart-healthy diet, the American Heart Association recommends that you eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other high-fiber foods.

Foods that are high in soluble fiber may help you lower cholesterol. Foods high in soluble fiber include oat bran, oatmeal, beans, peas, rice bran, barley, citrus fruits, strawberries, and apple pulp.

Insoluble fiber doesn't seem to affect blood cholesterol. But it promotes healthy bowel movement. Foods that are high in insoluble fiber include whole wheat breads, wheat cereals, wheat bran, cabbage, beets, carrots, brussels sprouts, turnips, cauliflower, and apple skin. Fiber from such foods is better for the bowel than fiber supplements, such as psyllium seed products.

Psyllium is a common ingredient in nonprescription fiber supplements and laxatives. It has been used to make some lipid-lowering drugs work better while reducing the stomach upset commonly caused by those drugs. But products containing psyllium are not recommended to replace foods as a source of fiber.

By Healthwise Staff
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Last Revised June 18, 2012

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