Oats, barley and other soluble fibre rich foods
Fibre comes in two forms – soluble and insoluble. Both are important for health and are found in all plants, fruits vegetables and cereals. It’s the soluble fibre that is important in helping to lower cholesterol – it works by forming a gel in the gut which can bind with cholesterol rich bile acids and stop them being absorbed into the body.
Oats and barley contain a special form of soluble fibre called beta-glucans, it’s also found in other grains too - but in much smaller amounts.
How much do I need to eat daily?
3g is the optimum daily amount of beta-glucans to help lower cholesterol. Foods which contain at least one third of this amount, in a reasonable sized serving, can make a cholesterol lowering claim on their packs.
To reach your goal of 3g beta-glucans per day – choose three from the list below:
- A bowl of porridge (using 30g of porridge oats)
- 2 tablespoons of oatbran – sprinkled onto cereals, or added to casseroles, soups or smoothies
- 1 oat breakfast biscuit
- 1 serving of Mornflake oatbran cereal
- 3 oatcakes
- 30g of oats in recipes that are also low in saturated fat
OR ONE oat serving from above plus ONE of the following barley serving:
- 150g cooked pearl barley – added to stews, casseroles, in salads or use instead of rice to make a risotto
- 40g serving of barley flakes
Or 1 portion of
- Oatwell products – Bran powder, instant drink mix, or oat bar.
Boost your soluble fibre intake further
You can boost your soluble fibre intake by increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables, beans and peas, whole grains, nuts and a dietary supplement called psyllium. As part of the UCLP© plan we recommend including 80-100g of cooked pulses (beans, peas or lentils) each day on top of your 5-a-day. There is huge choice to pick from and you can include them in lots of ways – soups, stews, salads, dips, or toast or as a vegetable side.
Fruits and vegetables rich in soluble fibre include aubergine, okra, apples, citrus fruits, strawberries, prunes, plums, avocado, pears, carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes and onions.