Diets high in fiber help normalize bowel movements, lower blood cholesterol, aid in blood sugar control and help control hunger, according to the Mayo Clinic. Whole grains are also naturally low in fat and high in fiber. Grains like oats and barley contain high amounts of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber prevents the absorption of cholesterol helping to lower blood cholesterol levels. Other grains high in fiber include whole-wheat spaghetti, bran flakes, popcorn, brown rice and whole-wheat bread.
As part of a heart-healthy diet, the American Heart Association recommends you eat 4 1/2 cups of fruits and vegetables everyday. Most fruits and vegetables are fat free and high in fiber. High-fiber fruits include raspberries, pears with skin, apples with skin, bananas, oranges, figs and raisins. High-fiber vegetables include artichokes, peas, broccoli, turnip greens, corn, potatoes with skin, tomatoes, raw carrots and Brussels sprouts. The Mayo Clinic says women need 21 to 25 g of fiber a day and men need 30 to 38 g of fiber a day.
Exercise! It doesn’t matter whether you cycle, swim, walk or jog, but do something to get yourself moving. A regular exercise routine is best, but remember to make slight changes to it once in awhile so your body doesn’t reach a plateau and stop improving. Ten minutes out of your busy day may not seem like a lot when you’re first starting out, but if yo…u exercise for 10 minutes, six days this week, that’s an hour more workout that you did last week! As you and your family get used to your routine it will become easier and easier to increase 10 minutes to 12, 15 and 20 minutes per day. I recommend re-bounding. It is easy safe and very effective. Bulk up and Tone up! If you work on building up some lean muscle mass with weight training then you are guaranteed to burn more calories than just by doing cardio alone. Why? Because muscle burns calories for you even when you’re at rest-it raises your BMR to help you burn fat! Do Intervals. When you do interval training, for example if you jog for 12 minutes total, but every 2 minutes you increase your speed to a hard run for 1 minute, your body is working a lot harder, so you get a more intense workout. Get Up! Stand up from your desk and walk around the office, go up and down the stairs a few times, park farther away or play with the dog. If you use these little bursts of energy throughout the day then your metabolism will stay revved up and you’ll keep burning more calories.
Ready to step up to a diet rich in the healthy nutrients your heart craves? The experts recommend staring here: Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fiber. Eat fish at least twice a week. Limit how much saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol you eat. Only 30% of your daily calories should come from fat, with very little of that from s…aturated fats. Select fat-free, 1% fat, and low-fat dairy products. Cut back on foods containing partially hydrogenated vegetable oils to reduce trans fat in your diet. Limit your salt intake. One way to make sure that your diet is rich in fruits, vegetables, and fiber, and low in saturated fats, is to divide your plate at each meal: half vegetables, 1/4 high-quality protein (like legumes — terrific sources of protein and great for a healthy heart!), and 1/4 for fish or a very lean meat. And remember, you should get your nutrients from foods themselves, the antioxidants and other heart-healthy goodies found in foods like blueberries, beans, and artichokes don’t pack the same punch when they’re not in food form. And avoid fad diets, advises Mosca. “Almost every one may result in short-term weight loss but leave you weighing even more a year later, and preventing weight gain is one of the best ways to prevent developing heart disease risk factors.”
A high-fiber diet has many benefits, which include:
Normalizes bowel movements. Dietary fiber increases the weight and size of your stool and softens it. A bulky stool is easier to pass, decreasing your chance of constipation. If you have loose, watery stools, fiber may also help to solidify the stool because it absorbs water and adds bulk to stool. Helps maintain …bowel health. A high-fiber diet may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease). Some fiber is fermented in the colon. Researchers are looking at how this may play a role in preventing diseases of the colon. Lowers cholesterol levels. Soluble fiber found in beans, oats, flaxseed and oat bran may help lower total blood cholesterol levels by lowering low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol levels. Studies also have shown that fiber may have other heart-health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure and inflammation. Helps control blood sugar levels. In people with diabetes, fiber — particularly soluble fiber — can slow the absorption of sugar and help improve blood sugar levels. A healthy diet that includes insoluble fiber may also reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Aids in achieving healthy weight. High-fiber foods generally require more chewing time, which gives your body time to register when you’re no longer hungry, so you’re less likely to overeat. Also, a high-fiber diet tends to make a meal feel larger and linger longer, so you stay full for a greater amount of time. And high-fiber diets also tend to be less “energy dense,” which means they have fewer calories for the same volume of food. Another benefit attributed to dietary fiber is prevention of colorectal cancer. However, the evidence that fiber reduces colorectal cancer is mixed.