“I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve been asked this question,” smiles Director of Nutrition at the Pritikin Longevity Center Kimberly Gomer. “I often answer it with another question: ‘How much fiber are you eating every day?’
“Many people think they’re doing everything right, and a lot of what they’re doing is right. They’re ordering egg-white omelettes and fish. They’ve cut out butter, cheese, and beef. They drink nonfat milk. This is all fantastic.
Lowering Cholesterol Tips – “The Most Important Tip Of All”
“But there’s one thing they haven’t done, and it’s the most important thing of all. They aren’t eating enough fiber-rich foods. It’s important because fiber lowers your cholesterol. It binds to the cholesterol in your body and pulls it out.”
And that’s only the beginning. Fiber also normalizes blood sugar levels, stabilizes insulin levels, helps you fill up on fewer calories so that you can lose weight more easily, helps prevent constipation, hemorrhoids, certain cancers, and much much more.
Optimally, say nutrition experts nationwide, we should be eating 35 to 50 grams of fiber every day. Americans average a mere 12 to 15 grams a day.
To get your cholesterol down, your blood sugar down, your insulin levels down, and your weight down, it’s a good idea to be aware of the number of grams of dietary fiber you’re eating every day.
Where do you get fiber? Think soil. You can’t find a food that grows out of the ground that isn’t fiber-rich. So, yes, we’re talking fruits, vegetables, whole unprocessed grains like oats and barley, corn, potatoes, yams, and, the most fiber-packed food of all – beans.
Your goal? 45 to 50 fiber grams every day.
How do you count fiber grams throughout the day? It’s simple.You don’t even need to look at labels. Just remember:
- A half cup of most fiber-rich foods adds up to about 2.5 grams of fiber.
- A half cup of cooked beans adds up to about 5 to 6 grams.
When you sit down to eat, ask yourself:
Take breakfast. If you order an egg-white omelette, are you getting much fiber? Maybe 1 or 2 grams if you asked for an omelette filled with veggies. But here’s a breakfast that does add up to 12 to 16 grams of fiber.
- A cup of hot oatmeal (5 grams of fiber)
- 2 cups of fresh fruit (5 grams)
- A slice of 100% whole-wheat toast (2.5 grams)
Moving onto lunch. Will a tuna sandwich (even one that’s on whole-wheat bread) get you much fiber? Nope. But here’s a lunch that will:
- A big green salad (5 grams of fiber)
- ½ cup of garbanzo beans on top of your salad (5 grams)
- Baked potato (5 grams)
- 2 cups of fresh fruit (5 grams)
Wow! On this lunch you even exceeded the 12 to 16 grams of fiber per meal. That’s perfectly fine. The more fiber you eat, the lower your cholesterol will go, and the thinner you’ll get.
Now for dinner. Sure, order your animal protein, if you’d like, but don’t forget to surround that protein with lots of fiber, as in:
- Seafood (0 grams of fiber)
- Lentil soup (5 grams)
- Brown rice (2.5 grams)
- 2 servings of steamed vegetables (5 grams)
- Fresh berries for dessert (2.5 grams)
Your five best sources of fiber? Think BYOBB, and don’t get excited. We’re not talking alcohol. “B” stands for beans, “Y” for yams, “O” for oats, “B” for barley, and “B” for berries.
Good luck! If you get 12 to 16 grams of fiber from naturally-rich-in-fiber foods in every meal, there is an excellent chance your cholesterol level will be way down with six months, and it’s very likely you’ll be shedding excess weight more easily, too.
Yes, among lowering cholesterol tips, raising fiber intake from whole straight-from-the-earth foods may be the best tip there is.