Fiber-Rich Fruits and Cereals Protect Heart
Adding two to three servings of high-fiber fruit or cereal could provide powerful protection for your heart.
Feb. 23, 2004 -- Adding two to three servings of high-fiber
fruit or cereal could provide powerful protection for your heart.
A new study shows that for each 10 grams of fiber eaten per
day, you can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease death by 27% and
coronary heart disease by 14%.
A serving of bran cereal (3/4 cup) and a pear each contain
about 5 grams of fiber. A similar-sized serving of cooked oatmeal and an apple
have about 3 grams of fiber each.
Researchers say that although many studies have shown that
eating a high-fiber diet can lower the risk of heart disease, few have looked
at the relationship between different sources of dietary fiber and heart
In this study, researchers found that fiber from cereals and
fruits had a significant effect on lowering heart disease risks, but vegetable
fiber didn't appear to any protective effects. Their findings are based on an
analysis of 10 previous studies on fiber and heart disease, which involved
91,058 men and 245,186 women in the U.S. and Europe.
Fruits and Cereals Fight Heart Disease
Researchers say dietary fiber may reduce the risk of heart
disease in a variety of ways, such as improving cholesterol levels, lowering
blood pressure, and improving insulin sensitivity.
The study, published in the Feb. 23 issue of The Archives of
Internal Medicine, shows that for every 10 gram per day increase in overall
fiber consumed, there was a 14% reduction in the risk of heart attacks and 27%
lower risk of coronary heart disease death.
Researchers say those results back current recommendations to
eat a diet that includes an abundance of high-fiber foods to prevent heart
According to the American Dietetic Association, Americans
should eat 20-35 grams of fiber each day, but the average American currently
eats only 12-17 grams of fiber a day.
Although overall fiber consumption was associated with a
reduced risk of death from coronary heart disease, researchers say the
associations were stronger for cereal and fruit fiber, with a 25% reduction in
risk for each 10-gram increment per day of cereal fiber and a 30% reduction in
risk for each 10-gram increment per day of fruit fiber.
Researchers say one possible explanation for the lack of a link
between vegetable fiber and lower heart disease risk may be that some
vegetables, such as corn and peas, are starchy and often heavily processed,
which reduces their nutrient content. In addition, some of the studies included
potatoes -- a very starchy vegetable -- in their vegetable fiber analysis.
Researchers say starchy vegetables can have cause a jump in
blood sugar levels that has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease
and type 2 diabetes.
"Therefore, any protective effect of vegetable fiber may be
countered by some adverse effects of starchy vegetables," writes researcher
Mark A. Pereira, PhD, of Harvard University