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 |

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