Dietary fiber found in fruits, vegetables, grains and cereals may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and reducing cholesterol levels, say a new study.
Dr. Mark A.Pereira of Harvard University and his colleagues analysed the pooled results of several studies to determine whether the source of dietary fibre had any effect on the reduction in heart disease risk.
Each study recorded what kind of foods and how much the participants ate. Although there was considerable variation in the level of dietary detail across the studies, all studies had some measurement of dietary fibre.
Among the participants from the studies, there were 5,249 incident (new) coronary heart disease cases, and 2,011 participants died of coronary heart disease over six to ten years of follow-up.
The researchers found that for each 10 gram per day increment of fibre consumed, there was a 14 percent decrease in risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) events such as non-fatal and fatal heart attack and a 27 percent decreased risk of dying from coronary heart disease.
"In conclusion, our results suggest that dietary fibre intake during adulthood is inversely associated with CHD risk. Coronary risk was 10 per cent to 30 percent lower for each 10 gram per day increment of total, cereal, or fruit fibre," the authors write.
"Therefore, the recommendations to consume a diet that includes an abundance of fiber-rich foods to prevent CHD are based on a wealth of consistent scientific evidence," conclude the authors.