|What we know:
Foods high in fiber can help reduce your risk of heart disease. It's also good for your digestive tract and for overall health. Further, eating foods rich in fiber can help you feel full on fewer calories, which makes it a good food choice if you need to lose weight.
There are two main types of fiber—insoluble and soluble (also called "viscous"). Both have health benefits but only soluble fiber reduces the risk of heart disease. It does that by helping to lower LDL cholesterol. Insoluble fiber goes through it largely undissolved. It's also called "roughage" and helps the colon function properly. It's found in many whole-grain foods, fruits (with the skins), vegetables, and legumes (such as dry beans and peas). Soluble fiber dissolves into a gel-like substance in the intestines. The substance helps to block cholesterol and fats from being absorbed through the wall of the intestines into the blood stream.
Research shows that people who increased their soluble fiber intake by 5—10 grams each day had about a 5 percent drop in their LDL cholesterol.