The heart-healthy carbohydrates you need right now

Smart Health Watch

Preventing heart disease means more than avoiding saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. It's also about what you should eat more of. Take optical fiber as an example. "For heart health, you should consider getting more fiber first," says Libby Mills, a dietitian and registered dietitian in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Getting the fiber you need is easier and tastier than you might think. Here's how to effortlessly increase your fiber content and bring some love to your heart in the process.

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Aim high. Think of fiber as a universal nutrient. In addition to keeping your heart happy, this multinutrient helps control blood sugar, keeps your digestive system on track and makes you feel full, so you naturally eat less. That's the good news. The National Academy of Sciences recommends that women get about 1 ounce (25 grams) of fiber a day, while men should get a third (38 grams) more.

Why is that? Fiber is found naturally in whole, minimally processed foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. When we eat more ultra-processed foods like chicken nuggets, cooked meats, salty snacks, cakes and cookies, we risk not getting enough fiber.

Mix. Fiber sounds the same. In fact, there are many types of fiber, each of which supports heart health in a different way. So, eating lots of different foods to get all types of fiber is key.

In most cases, fiber can be divided into two categories: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber is commonly found in foods such as beans, oats, barley, apples and pears. Like a sponge, it helps trap cholesterol in the blood and raise fat before saturated and trans fats enter your body.

And this clever little trick is just the beginning. "By slowing digestion, soluble fiber also prevents blood sugar spikes, which can raise triglycerides and cause damage to blood vessels," Mills added.

Insoluble fibers are not weak. Insoluble fiber, found in foods like bran cereals, whole wheat breads and pasta, has a reputation for keeping your digestive system on track. But it's also good for your heart. Since insoluble fiber provides a natural feeling of fullness after eating, it can also help you eat less. In the long run, this can maintain a healthy weight, thereby reducing the strain on the heart. In fact, studies have found that for every 7 grams of insoluble fiber a person eats daily, their risk of heart disease decreases by 18 percent.

The best of both worlds.If you can't be bothered to pay attention to whether you have enough soluble and insoluble fiber,we'll listen to you!Fortunately,there's a quick and easy fiber that can transfer both types of fiber: whole grain fiber.If you've never heard of whole grain fiber, it's essentially the bran of a grain kernel and is rich in whole grains -- you guessed it.

Consuming 5 grams of whole grain fiber in your daily diet can reduce your risk of heart disease by 10 percent, according to a new study. The American Heart Association recommends eating half a grain.

Sure, you can Wolf down a big bowl of whole wheat cereal. But why stop there? If you want to harness the power of this beneficial whole grain fiber, try these tips.
Add 1/4 cup quinoa cereal to your favorite smoothie.
If you want a crunchy layer on your French toast, you can sprinkle a slice of egg-dipped whole wheat bread with crushed, unsweetened whole grain cereal and serve with fresh fruit before cooking.
Roll balls of energy in the swollen brown rice.
Mix whole wheat cereal with dried sour cherries and almonds to make a sweet, savory snack.
Whip up a batch of super seed cereal.
Next time you make chicken nuggets or fish fingers, use breadcrumbs instead of toasted oatmeal.
Remember to add more fiber-rich foods to your diet while balancing your calories to maintain a healthy weight, limiting saturated and trans fats, and reducing excess salt and sodium.

What's more,wearing a BP smart watch which can help you count calories and set a schedule to eat healthier will help you a lot.