Fibre supports heart health

If you want a healthy heart, eat plenty of whole-grain cereals and foods, say experts.

According to Professor Bruce Griffin, a nutrition expert at the University of Surrey, there is now strong evidence that fibre found in carbohydrate foods may have a significant impact on heart health as well as diabetes.

“Soluble fibre in foods like oats and barley can lower your blood cholesterol by helping to remove substances in the gut called bile acids from the body that would otherwise be absorbed and make more cholesterol in your liver,” says Professor Griffin.

“On the other hand, insoluble fibre may work by reducing the intake of calorie-dense foods that are rich in fat and sugar. In other words, when you eat foods that are rich in insoluble fibre, you’re effectively eating less energy.

According to the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN), you should eat up to 30g of fibre a day in the form of more whole grains, fruit and vegetables. But according to the NHS, most people in the UK get about 14g a day – which means many aren’t getting enough.

“There have been mixed messages to the general public about carbohydrates recently and it’s essential that consumers understand the benefits to their heart health that soluble fibre can provide.” says Linda Main, expert dietetic adviser at HEART UK.

The charity encourages a diet that is low in saturated fat, but rich in whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables, nuts, beans and pulses – all of which contribute to dietary fibre intake and do not contribute free sugars to the diet.

Foods that contain soluble fibre include:

  • Oats, barley and rye
  • Fruit
  • Root vegetables (carrots, potatoes etc)
  • Golden linseeds (or flaxseeds)

Meanwhile, sources of insoluble fibre – that is, fibre that your body can’t digest – include:

  • Wholemeal bread
  • Bran
  • Cereals
  • Nuts and seeds (but not golden linseeds)

If youre concerned youre not eating enough fibre, ask your local Careway pharmacist for advice on healthy eating or whether they would recommend a fibre supplement. Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.