Soluble fibre is an important dietary component obtained from vegetables and fruits. Soluble fibre is broadly defined as dietary fibre which is soluble in water, as this type of fibre absorbs water to form a viscous gel. Soluble fibre has a number of dietary benefits, such as:
- Reduction of “bad” cholesterol
- Maintenance of stable blood sugar levels
- Helps manage triglyceride levels
- Prebiotic properties that promote the growth of probiotic bacteria
Soluble fibre has a unique ability to specifically reduce “bad” cholesterol, or LDL due to its physical properties. It does this by absorbing water and forming a gel which binds cholesterol in the food consumed, and prevents it from being absorbed. This characteristic would potentially prevent an increase in cholesterol by limiting the amount of cholesterol absorbed from food.
This gel also interferes with the reabsorption of bile salts, which are released by the liver to help digest food.As a result of this, the liver is signalled to produce more bile. The liver needs cholesterol, specifically, low density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol, to synthesize bile, which it takes from our blood, reducing circulating levels of LDL.
Increasing soluble fibre intake is an easy way to reduce bad cholesterol and keep you healthy.