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Making fiber a part of your diet

The AHA Eating Plan suggests eating a variety of food fiber sources. Foods that contain fiber also are often good sources of other essential nutrients.


When increasing fiber in your diet, do so gradually and increase the fluids you drink at the same time (unless your health care team advises differently).

If you don't, you may become constipated.

Depending on how these foods are prepared, they are often low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.

Dietary fiber is the parts of plants that your body can't digest. Fiber is an important part of a healthy diet.

There are two kinds of fiber, soluble and insoluble.

  • Soluble fiber can help lower your blood cholesterol when eaten on a regular basis as part of a low saturated fat, low cholesterol diet. Foods high in soluble fiber include oat bran, oatmeal, beans, peas, barley, citrus fruits, strawberries and apples. Of these, oats have the greatest proportion of soluble fiber.
  • Insoluble fiber does not help lower blood cholesterol, but helps you have regular bowel movements. Foods high in insoluble fiber include whole wheat breads, wheat cereals, wheat bran, rye, rice, barley, most other grains, cabbage, beets, carrots, brussels sprouts, turnips and cauliflower.



Source: Allina Health's Patient Education Department, Helping Your Heart, fourth edition, cvs-ahc-90648

First published: 10/04/2002
Last updated: 06/01/2007

Reviewed by: Allina Health's Patient Education Department experts