14. Whole Grains
Carbohydrates are generally considered a bad dietary choice these days, but that is usually because we are eating the bad ones where the goodness has been refined out of the food. Fibre is an important component of a heart-healthy diet, but most people only eat half of the required daily amount. Fibre mainly comes from whole grains and vegetables and fruit, and everyone knows we are not eating enough veggies and fruit.
So don’t leave the carbs out of your diet – just make sure at least half of them are the good ones. Fibre helps the heart by removing bad cholesterol from the body and can also reduce blood pressure problems. Switching to high-fiber substitutes from refined grains is an easy choice to make, so replace your cereal with a high fiber alternative and wholewheat pasta, brown bread and brown rice instead.
Since brown bread is man-made, spend some time shopping for a bread that has the best fiber load and watches out for added ingredients like extra sugar and salt which may detract from the health benefits of the product. It may not be called “brown bread” but with a little effort you can find something that you enjoy but still offers whole grain health benefits.
Fibre can help you feel full but passes through your body undigested, indeed it can extract certain foods along the way; which means that it adds no calories and can actually reduce your calories. The fiber in whole grains is usually of the insoluble variety, which means you should ensure you have oats, beans, and legumes in your diet to provide soluble fiber, which is the other useful type. Make sure you drink lots of water to complement your fiber intake.