The cholesterol lowering effects of dietary fibre

Increasing dietary fibre has been recommended as a way to lower cholesterol levels.
Dietary fibre is a collective term for a variety of plant substances that are resistant to digestion by human gastrointestinal enzymes. They can be classified into two groups depending on their solubility in water. It has been suggested that soluble fibres such as oats, psyllium, pectin and guar gum lower total and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. The question is by how much?

Soluble fibre reduces total and LDL cholesterol. One gram of soluble fibre (e.g. from

one apple) can lower total cholesterol by about 0.045 mmol/L. To put this into
perspective, the current recommendation is an average intake of 18 g/day (which
includes both soluble and insoluble fibre). This would lower cholesterol by
about 0.40 mmol/L (the acceptable cholesterol level is up to 5.2 mmol/L). In
isolation this is a small amount, but combined with the benefits of other
healthy (cholesterol-lowering) behaviours (e.g. exercising), it would make a
worthwhile difference.

Top 5 high fibre foods that can help you to lower your LDL

  • Oats and Oat bran (rich in beta-glucan, a soluble form of fiber)
  • Kidney beans and all other legumes
  • Apples, pears and prunes
  • Barley (rich in beta-glucan, a soluble form of fiber)
  • Walnuts
02 September 2020

Related Articles

View More
Cholesterol in South Africa

A survey of high cholesterol levels in South Africa (total cholesterol greater…

Foods High In fibre

What is Fibre? Many of us associate fibre with digestive health and bodily…

Meet Gavin

Carer of his father, who is living with heart failure.

Cholesterol food facts

Milk: Many of us have already made the switch from whole milk to some kind of…


We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. By using our site, you agree to our cookies policy.