If you’re with me on our last topic and want to accept the advice of the overwhelming majority of Cardiologist and strive to improve your Cholesterol Profile, you will want to incorporate plenty of WHOLE FOODS in your diet and work to reduce the amount of PROCESSED FOODS you consume. 

You may also wonder WHY or HOW eating whole foods contributes to the lowering of bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol levels in your body.

In order to understand how this works, you need to know what a BILE SALT is.

Bile salts are one of the primary components of bile, a greenish-yellow fluid made by the liver and stored in our gallbladder. Bile salts help with the digestion of fats in our bodies. They also help us absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. 

Our bodies recycle some bile salts and excrete others. SOLUBLE DIETARY FIBER can bind to bile salts in our small intestine and help to eliminate them. Here’s the key...

--> We need cholesterol to make new bile

If we eliminate bile salts by binding them to fiber, our body has to use up more of its own cholesterol (not dietary cholesterol) in order to make more bile.

Well... there you have it. That’s the WHY and HOW of dietary fiber lowering blood cholesterol. 

Seems pretty straight forward. Eat more fiber in the form of whole foods. If you have a difficult time ingesting appropriate levels of fiber throughout the day, consider adding a fiber supplement if you can’t get enough whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, and fruits and veggies in a day. 

One note of caution is that fiber also binds to other fat-soluble chemicals, such as sex hormone metabolites, and helps to excrete those, too. More often than not, this affects plant-based eating females trying to lose weight, who are eating a ton of fiber to increase volume to help with satiety, while decreasing calories for satiety purposes. These women might also be of low body-fat and are physically active, as well. Remember the body works as a system. For our purposes here, let’s say there are three factors at play. 

  1. Your energy system. 
  2. Your immune system. 
  3. Your hormonal system. 

Sacrificing or over-doing it in one area (oftentimes the calories in/calories out part of the system) such as energy consumption in the form of calories, or over-exercising has an affect on the immune and hormonal systems. 

As always, before changing anything serious in your life, such as exercise or diet, please consult your doctor to see if it’s appropriate and healthy for you. The body is quite complex. While some may figure they are doing something good for themselves, may actually be doing something that ends up being harmful in the long-run.