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Cereal Fibers and Psyllium Benefits Heart health

Cereal fiber is associated with a host of health benefits.  Individuals consuming little fibres would benefit from increasing their dietary intake of whole grain foods high in fibre.

Cereals, also called grains, are grasses from which the seed is removed for consumption. Cereals commonly consumed are rice, wheat, maize, barley, rye, oats, millet and sorghum; of these, barley and rye contain the most fiber per gram of edible portion; rice and millet the least.  Numerous studies reveal the cardiovascular benefits of consuming cereal fiber through multiple mechanisms.  These benefits are likely achieved through multiple metabolic pathways: by reducing weight and waist circumference, body mass index (BMI), percent body fat; improving glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity; and lowering the risk of metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

Epidemiological evidence suggests that 3 g or more per day of β-glucan from oats or barley or 7 g or more per day of soluble fiber from psyllium can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.  14 g/day of inulin-type fructans, added to foods and beverages, may modestly decrease serum triacylglycerols. Consumption of whole grains confers not only the benefits of cereal fiber, but also those from a wide range of other protective compounds, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytosterols, unsaturated fatty acids, phytin, and lignans.

Recent estimates are that 36% of the U.S. population falls below the minimum recommended intake for grains and 99% falls below the recommendation for whole grains.  In addition, 90% of the U.S. population does not consume enough dietary fiber.  It is recommended that individuals consuming little cereal fiber should increase consumption of whole grains, as well as beans, peas and vegetables, fruits and other foods with naturally occurring fiber, to help increase fiber intake.  For those individuals adjusting to the texture and palatability of whole grains, turning to added-fiber products rich in β-glucan and psyllium may allow them to reach their fiber goals without increasing caloric intake.

Source:
Chuang S-chun et al; Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Jul; 96(1):164-74.

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