Foods that are 100 percent whole grain are rich in dietary fiber that effectively reduces cholesterol levels. Whereas refined grains such as wheat flour and white rice have parts of the grain removed, whole grains contain the entire grain and are thus higher in fiber, reports the American Heart Association.
When refined grains are milled and processed, the bran and germ of a grain are removed. Most refined grains are enriched, which means that essential minerals and vitamins that are removed in milling are added later in the process. Significant amounts of fiber are lost in the processing of refined grains, and this fiber is not among the minerals and vitamins that are included in enrichment. According to AHA, whole grains escape this milling and processing and contain more soluble fiber, and research demonstrates that soluble fiber is particularly effective in reducing LDL cholesterol.
Importantly, 100 percent whole grains should not be confused with other whole grain products on the market. The Whole Grains Council states that products marked as 100 percent whole grain must contain at least 16 grams of whole grains per serving, and they cannot contain any grain ingredients that are not whole grains. Consequently, 100 percent whole grains contain more of the soluble fiber needed for reducing cholesterol and maintaining a healthy heart.