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Wheat is ‘best option’ for lowering cholesterol

A recent study carried out by the University of South Dakota has found that using wheat fibre to lower cholesterol and therefore prevent the development of heart disease has been successfully linked.

Research found that a special, non-digestible, chemically-modified wheat fibre called resistant starch can resist digestion and have beneficial effects on those with metabolic syndrome (a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity).

The research team found that cholesterol levels in those at risk of high blood pressure, diabetes or obesity were lowered by this special type of wheat fibre. This newly-developed fibre also significantly decreased body fat and was able to increase lean body mass in both healthy participants and those at risk of a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.

For a long time, scientists have told patients with high cholesterol about the health benefits of eating high-fibre foods. Fibre can be either soluble or insoluble, although most fibre-containing foods have both. Insoluble fibre can be found in wholegrain foods, wheat bran, many vegetables and fruit with skin. Soluble fibre is included in foods such as oats, beans, apples and citrus fruits.

Evidence has shown that soluble fibre is more effective at lowering cholesterol, because it reduces the amount of stomach bile being reabsorbed by the intestines. When fibre interferes with the absorption of bile in the intestines, the bile is excreted in the faeces. To make up for this loss of bile, the liver makes more bile salts, but it needs to use cholesterol, so the liver employs LDL receptors to pull cholesterol from molecules in the blood stream. Therefore, the more bile salts that are made from the liver, the more LDL cholesterol is pulled from the blood, which in turn lowers your overall cholesterol level.

However, whilst soluble fibres are proven to lower cholesterol levels, it’s still worth remembering that both types of fibre are essential and important to your health. Insoluble fibres help by keeping your gut regular and clean, prevents some cancers, regulates blood sugar and aids in weight control.

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