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Get Heart Smart With More Fiber (Recipe Included)

It is easy to get overwhelmed when considering a heart-healthy diet. There are so many things to reduce, including saturated fat, processed foods and sodium. However, fiber is one item you can increase.

Fiber intake is linked to a wide-range of health benefits.

Eating more fiber can reduce your cholesterol and stabilize your blood sugar. It has also been shown to reduce the risk of colorectal cancer and aid in weight loss, among many other benefits. Found in plant-based foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fiber can be soluble and insoluble. Both are healthy. 

  • Soluble fiber is found in oatmeal, beans, peas, apples, citrus, carrots, chia seeds and barley. It may lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels. 
  • Insoluble fiber helps to promote regular bowel movements and improve gut health. It’s found in whole wheat, wheat bran, nuts and most vegetables.  

How should I add more fiber to my diet?

The best way to increase fiber intake is to do so slowly. Add new fiber-rich foods daily. For example, replace things like white bread with 100% whole wheat bread or have nuts instead of crackers as a snack. Be sure to increase your water intake too, as it helps reduce bloating and process the fiber.

Because fiber can keep hunger at bay and boost your energy, breakfast is a great time to incorporate more fiber into your daily diet.

A Quick and Easy Fiber-Rich Breakfast 

This healthy breakfast option can be made ahead for busy mornings and customized with a variety of toppings.

Overnight Oats
1 cup milk of choice
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp cinnamon, or to taste
Optional toppings: slivered almonds, peanut butter, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, berries or sliced fruit. 

Add all ingredients to a bowl or jar and stir until mixed well. Let the mixture soak overnight in the refrigerator. In the morning, top your overnight oats with berries or any other toppings of choice. You can eat the oats cold, or warm them up in the microwave or stovetop.

Featured Image
Overnight Oats

Ashley Reed, RDN, is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She works at Chesapeake Regional’s Lifestyle Health & Fitness Center in Diabetes and Nutrition Services.​

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