Heart disease is the leading killer of all Americans, but African Americans are hit hardest. Heart disease develops earlier in African Americans than in white Americans and deaths from heart disease are higher. Moreover, the life expectancy of African Americans is 3.4 years shorter than that of whites, because of a higher rate of heart attacks, sudden cardiac arrest, heart failure and strokes than white Americans.
High cholesterol is one of the major risks for heart disease and stroke. Nearly 1 in 3 American adults have high cholesterol. The good news is, you can improve your odds of preventing heart disease by managing your cholesterol levels. And one of the best ways to manage cholesterol levels is by following a heart-healthy diet. Fiber, unsaturated fat, and plant sterols and stanols are the main components of a heart-healthy diet that have been shown to decrease cholesterol.
Dietary fiber is the indigestible part of any plant food, including the leaves of vegetables, fruit skins, and seeds. There are two types of dietary fiber, soluble and insoluble, and most plant foods contain some of each kind. All fiber has heart-health benefits, but soluble fiber also helps lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol.
Soluble fiber is also beneficial if you have diabetes. Fiber slows digestion and the rate at which carbohydrates and other