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
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)