Fiber-rich diet cuts coronary heart disease risk

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Eating a more fibrous diet may help cut the risk for heart disease, researchers say.

According to the findings of a new study, boosting the amount of dietary fiber, i.e. eating more fruits and vegetables, can help lower the odds of cardiovascular events. The study found that every 7 grams increase in dietary fiber lowered the risk of heart disease by 9 percent.

Quantifying the heart fiber rich foods for the very first time, Victoria Burley, study’s lead researcher, said, “It has previously been difficult to demonstrate the long-term influence of diet on heart attacks or strokes.”

“For the first time, our research has shown the long-term benefits, even with quite small increases in fiber intake,” Burley, from the School of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Leeds, added.

The study
For the purpose of the study, researchers reviewed 26 previous studies that looked at the link between intake of fiber rich foods and rates of cardiovascular events.

Researchers looked at the intake of total fiber, including insoluble fiber found in whole grains, potato skins, soluble fiber found in legumes, nuts, oats and barley, cereal, fruits and vegetables and other sources of fiber.

Dietary intake was linked with a reduced risk of both cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease(CHD), researchers found.

With every additional 7 grams of fiber consumed per day the risk of developing such conditions dropped by 9 percent, they highlighted.

The amount of fiber highlighted in the study can be achieved through one portion of whole grains and two to four servings of fruit and vegetables.

“It’s critical that people understand that whole grains — such as barley, bulgur, millet, quinoa, brown rice, rye, oats and whole wheat, along with fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds — are part of a heart-healthy diet, Suzanne Steinbaum, a preventive cardiologist at Lenox Hill Hospital, in New York City said.

“Hopefully our findings will show how even a small change to your diet can greatly improve health.”

The findings of the study are published online Dec. 19 in BMJ.

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