Fiber-rich diet may protect against stroke!

Eating more fiber may lower the risk of stroke, according to the first meta-analysis of relevant research on fiber intake and stroke.


We found that across the normal range intakes, with each additional 7 grams per day consumed, risk of stroke was reduced by about 7%,” Dr Victoria J Burley (University of Leeds, UK) said in an interview.

“This sounds like quite a small reduction in risk, but because stroke affects so many people, lowering risk by 7% could potentially impact many thousands of individuals,” Burley noted.

The results, published online March 28, 2013 in Stroke and partly supported by the cereal industry, buttress dietary recommendations to increase intake of total dietary fiber, the researchers say.

Previous studies have shown that dietary fiber may help reduce stroke risk factors, including high blood pressure and elevated LDL-cholesterol levels.


Burley and colleagues analyzed eight relevant cohort studies from the US, Europe, Australia, and Japan published between 1990 and 2012, comprising more than 200 000 individuals. Follow-up ranged from eight to 19 years, and case numbers ranged from 95 fatal strokes to 2781 incident events.

Total dietary fiber intake was inversely associated with risk for stroke (hemorrhagic plus ischemic).

“The relationship between dietary fiber and stroke risk seems to be linear, so this means that even small increases in intake may have an effect on long-term stroke risk,” Burley said.


Most populations in high-income countries, such as the US, don’t eat enough fiber-rich foods, and clinicians should encourage patients to improve their intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts and seeds to achieve fiber goals. Meeting the guideline for dietary fiber intake is likely to have other health benefits, such as good digestive health, lowering blood cholesterol, and stabilizing blood glucose. In the long term, our data suggest that risk of stroke may be reduced as well,” she added.


Best type of fiber uncertain

Dr Gustavo Saposnik (St Michael’s Hospital, University of Toronto, ON)  comments that the most important finding was the 7% reduction in the incident risk of stroke for every 7 g of daily fiber consumption.

“The authors explained this is achievable by eating a small portion of whole-meal pasta (70 g), a piece of fruit (apple/pear/orange), plus a serving of tomatoes each day,” he noted.

So, grab that bowl of cereal today!

via Fiber-rich diet may protect against stroke |

Carnitine in red meat may up CVD risk via altered gut flora

Research in mice and human volunteers has suggested a mechanism that may contribute to an association between eating red meat and increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). It involves microbes in the gut.


People who regularly eat red meat have an increased colonization of intestinal bacteria that break down the carnitine in red meat into a metabolite that promotes increased cholesterol deposition in the artery wall, the researchers report. Their study was published online April 7, 2013 in Nature Medicine.


Energy drinks are another major source of carnitine, senior author Dr Stanley L Hazen (Cleveland Clinic, OH) told heartwire. If someone regularly eats red meat or drinks energy drinks, “microbes that like carnitine become more abundant [in the gut], and now you are much more capable of making this metabolite . . . trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO),” he said. “This paper showed [that TMAO] . . . essentially leads to an enhanced capacity to deposit cholesterol on the cells of your artery wall.



Does this mean that physicians should advise all their patients to become vegetarians and avoid drinking energy drinks? Hazen says that people need to be aware that “a can of an energy drink can have more carnitine than a porterhouse steak.”


For now, “it makes sense to adhere to a lower-cholesterol, lower-saturated-fat diet [that will be] more heart healthy in terms of decreasing the nutrients that give rise to forming TMAO, [since] this may be one of the hidden contributors to heart disease.”


via Carnitine in red meat may up CVD risk via altered gut flora |

PURE: Few people with CVD worldwide follow healthy habits!


Only a fraction of people who have established heart disease or a past stroke are adhering to the most basic lifestyle recommendations known to reduce their risk of a future event. Those are the latest findings from the sweeping Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (PURE) study, a global snapshot of cardiovascular disease risk factors and health status encompassing both rich and poor nations and urban and rural communities.


Previous analyses from PURE have highlighted the underuse of proven medications for the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease-CVD (particularly in underdeveloped countries), published in the Lancet in 2012.


PURE was conducted in 17 countries, across more than 600 communities, and enrolled 153 996 adults.


In their latest paper, published in the April 17, 2013 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, Teo and colleagues, with senior author Dr Salim Yusuf (McMaster University),  zero in on the 7519 PURE study participants who had self-reported coronary heart disease or previous stroke.



As Teo and colleagues note, 18.5% continued to smoke following their index diagnosis, only 35% took up high levels of work- or leisure-related physical activity, and just 39% reported following a healthy diet.


In all, 14% reported not engaging in any of the three healthy lifestyle behaviors defined by the study, while just 4% tried to adopt all three.


“This study shows that a large gap exists between actual and ideal participation in the three key lifestyle behaviors of avoidance of (or quitting) smoking, undertaking regular physical activity, and eating a healthy diet after a CHD or stroke event,” they write.

“Nearly one-fifth of individuals continued to smoke, only about one-third undertook high levels of physical activity, and only two-fifths were eating a healthy diet.”

It is time that the Consultant Physicians pull up their socks and started emphasizing on these aspects of treatment.


via PURE: Few people with CVD worldwide follow healthy habits |

Beet juice reduces BP in hypertensives!


A small study has demonstrated that the blood-pressure lowering effects of Beet-root juice by increasing the intake of dietary nitrates. 


Dr Amrita Ahluwalia (Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, UK) and colleagues have previously shown  that beet juice, after coming into contact with human saliva, increases levels of plasma nitrate and nitrite and leads to significant blood-pressure decreases in healthy volunteers.


In their latest study, published online April 15, 2013 in Hypertension, Ahluwalia and colleagues from the Queen Mary University of London, UK turned again to beetroot, which, along with green leafy vegetables, has high concentrations of inorganic nitrate.


The authors tested the beet-juice effects in 15 hypertensive, drug-naive patients, randomized to either 250 mL of inorganic nitrate-rich beetroot juice or an equal volume of water. The “dose” of juice elevates nitrite levels approximately 1.5 fold.


In patients who drank the juice, systolic blood pressure dropped by a mean of 11.2 mm Hg between three and six hours after consumption (vs 0.7 mm Hg in subjects who drank water). By 24 hours, clinic systolic BP remained significantly lower in the beet-juice group and roughly 7.2 mm Hg lower than baseline. Peak drop in diastolic BP also occurred within the first six hours, dropping by a mean of 9.6 mm Hg. Pulse-wave velocity also decreased in the beet-juice group, but not in the controls.


Grab your glass of beet juice today!


via Dietary nitrates in beet juice cut BP in hypertensives |