Guest post by Jennifer Dawson. Thanks for reaching out and writing up an awesome post! 🙂
In America, heart disease is the leading killer of both men and women alike, accounting for about one in every four deaths in the United States. Globally, heart disease is responsible for nearly a third of adult deaths. With the prevalence of cardiovascular health disease on the rise, it’s important that families take steps to reduce their chances of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other risk factors.
While severe cases of heart disease and stroke may need to rely on medical intervention for improvement, healthy individuals can reduce their risk of developing cardiac issues simply by staying active and eating right. A balanced diet is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. While most people’s minds jump to vegetables and lean proteins when it comes to cardiac health, many of us tend to gloss over the importance of fiber. Getting plenty of dietary fiber not only improves digestive regularity but also helps support every vital system in the body, including the heart.
The Cardiac Benefits of Fiber
No matter how many heart-healthy vitamins and minerals you eat, you won’t be getting the full benefits of each meal without enough fiber. Soluble and insoluble fiber aid in digestion, ensuring that nutrients from your food are able to make their way into the bloodstream, and ultimately, your organs. A fiber-rich diet carries with it a number of health benefits that have a positive impact on overall cardiac health, including:
- Lowered cholesterol
- A reduced the risk of stroke
- A decreased chance of developing type II diabetes
- Aids in weight loss
Women under fifty should aim to include about 25 grams of fiber a day, while adult men need around 38 grams. Most Americans, however, do not get the fiber that they need and average under just 15 grams per day.
The Best Sources of Heart-Healthy Fiber
When it comes to fiber, not all sources are created equal. It’s best to get your daily fiber intake from natural sources such as grains and vegetables. You can find soluble fiber in foods such as barley, oatmeal, beans, nuts, and certain fruits. Insoluble fiber is found in vegetables, wheat cereals, and whole grains.
You should always make sure to read the label carefully when looking for heart-healthy foods. Some whole wheat products contain enriched or bleached wheat or white flour, which contains much less fiber than whole wheat. You can also figure out exactly how many grams of fiber each serving of a product will give you.
There are many things that you can do to maintain your cardiac health with age, starting with improving your diet. Eating plenty of fiber ensures that you’re getting all of the nutrients that you need to keep your heart in working order.