High Fiber Diets Love Hearts

Fiber protects women from cardiovascular disease

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Don't be shy about packing away fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grain breads at the dinner table. Doing so appears to give individuals added protection against heart disease.

The protection was even more significant for women who consumed a diet rich in fiber, possibly because women tend to consume more fiber from healthier sources such as fruits and vegetables, as compared to breads for men.

"Add extra daily servings of fruits and vegetables to your diet."

Peter Wallström, a primary author and department of medicine researcher at Lund University in Sweden, noted that women who consumed high amounts of fiber lowered their risk of cardiovascular disease by nearly 25 percent as compared to women eating a low fiber diet.

The results were not as significant in men, he said, though the study confirmed added protection from stroke in men who eat plenty of fiber.

During the study researchers reviewed the eating habits of more than 30,000 Swedish residents through the Malmö Diet and Cancer Population Study, with a focus on their risk of cardiovascular disease. They analyzed 13 different nutrient variables, including fiber, fats, proteins and carbohydrates. In addition to detailed information about their diets, participants also provided blood samples.

They found participants that consumed diets high in fiber benefited from added protection against heart disease. Investigators did not find any other definitive links between other nutrients, such as sugar or saturated fats, and cardiovascular disease.

"These results should be interpreted with a certain amount of caution. Almost everyone eats more saturated fat than recommended, including the participants in many other population studies," Wallström said. "It is therefore difficult to compare recommended and high fat intake."

Researchers warned against consuming extreme diets for added heart protection. They instead suggest following a well-balanced diet that incorporates a variety of healthy foods.

The study was recently published in journal PLOS One.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 16, 2012
Last Updated:
April 17, 2012