The increase of welfare and availability of food, as well as shift in our eating habits, has somehow brought negative impacts on our heatlh. These negative impacts include the increasing prevalence of degenerative diseases such as heart conditions, stroke, and diabetes. As reported by WHO (2020), in 2019 cardiovascular-related dissues took an estimated 17,9 million lives each year with Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) and stroke causing 80% of the number (14,3 millions).
One of the main causes of CHD is the high level of cholesterol that clogs the arteries and blocks the blood flow. When blood that carries oxygen to the heart gets blocked, it will then cause chest pain which may lead to heart attack.
Cholesterol, which is almost impossible to be omitted completely from our life, is actually allowed to be added to our diet. But the amount should be limited. It’s considered okay as long as we have total cholesterol levels below 200 md/dL. If the levels reach 239 mg/dL, it’s considered high and dangerous as it will double the risks of CHD.
To keep the levels norml, we can start controlling our eating habits and including more dietary fiber. But how is dietary fiber related to cholesterol and how does it work to reduce the levels?
Firstly, fiber has high viscosity that prevents cholesterol from being absorbed in the small intestine. Secondly, it reduces the number of cholesterol by using it to synthesize bile acids. Thirdly, dietary fiber will be processed in the colon to produce propioic acid, a substrate that prevents the formation of cholesterol (Marsono, 2004).
Dietary fiber can be found in a lot of foods. According to Indonesian FDA, there are two types of fiber-rich foods: fiber source that contains 3% of fiber (3 grams of fiber per 100 grams ingredients) and high-fiber ingredients that contains 6% (6 grams of fiber per 100 grams ingredients) (Anonim, 2016). These foods include carrots and green beans (3.2%), guava (5.6%), red kidney beans (6.4%), and avocadoes (6.7%). We can also increase our fiber intake through any product that has been fortified with fiber if necessary.
- Anonymous, 2001. AACC Report, 2001. The definition of dietary fibre. Cereal Foods World 46: 112-126.
- Anonymous, 2016. Peraturan Kepala Badan Pengawasan Obat dan Makanan Republik Indonesia Nomor 13 tahun 2016, tentang Pengawasan Klaim dalam Label dan Iklan Pangan Olahan. Badan Pengawasan Obat dan Makanan Republik Indonesia. Jakarta.
- Marsono, Y., 2004. Serat pangan dalam perspektif ilmu gizi. Pidato Pengukuhan Guru Besar Universitas Gadjah Mada Yogyakarta.
- WebMd, 2018. Heart Disease and Lowering Cholesterol. Revied by Suzanne R. Steinbaum, MD on December 28, 2018