Eating for a Healthy Heart

bran cerealsHeart disease is one of the major causes of death in America. So taking care of your heart is an utmost priority. A healthy diet and exercise goes a long way in keeping those calories and fat away from your heart but you can always lower the risk by eating bran.

The bran cereal you eat every morning may protect you from what scientists now think may be a leading risk factor for heart disease. C-reactive protein (CRP) is a sign of inflamed tissues, and high blood levels of CRP may signify that the vessel-blocking process called atherosclerosis is underway in your arteries.

Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that eating lots of foods high in total fiber (soluble and insoluble combined) reduces your CRP levels, possibly lowering your heart attack risk as well.

The 2004 study of 3,900 people found that those getting the most fiber in their diets (32 g per day) were half as likely to have dangerously high CRP levels as were those eating the least fiber (5 g per day). Below are the 10 best fiber sources among common foods, ranked from highest to lowest. Consume several daily to hit the ideal amount of fiber: 25 g for women and 38 g for men.

Foods Highest in Protective Fiber:

  • Bran cereals, ½ cup: 10 g
  • Beans and lentils, ½ cup: 8 g
  • Whole wheat spaghetti, 1 cup: 6 g
  • Artichokes, ½ cup: 5 g
  • Bulgur, ½ cup: 4 g
  • Cooked spinach, ½ cup: 4 g
  • Raspberries, ½ cup: 4 g
  • Mixed vegetables, ½ cup: 4 g
  • Dried plums, ½ cup: 4 g
  • Green peas, ½ cup: 4 g
 

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