Eating a diet rich in fiber content reduces the risk of first-time stroke, says study.
Dietary fiber is the part of the plant that the body doesn't absorb during digestion. Fiber can be soluble, which means it dissolves in water, or insoluble.
Previous research has shown that dietary fiber may help reduce risk factors for stroke, including high blood pressure and high blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) "bad" cholesterol.
In the study, researchers found that each seven-gram increase in total daily fiber intake was associated with a 7 percent decrease in first-time stroke risk.
One serving of whole wheat pasta, plus two servings of fruits or vegetables, provides about 7 grams of fiber, researchers said.
"Greater intake of fiber-rich foods - such as whole-grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts - are important for everyone, and especially for those with stroke risk factors like being overweight, smoking and having high blood pressure," Diane Threapleton, M.Sc., and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Leeds' School of Food Science and Nutrition in Leeds, United Kingdom said.
Researchers analyzed eight studies published between 1990-2012. Studies reported on all types of stroke with four specifically examining the risk of ischemic stroke, which occurs when a clot blocks a blood vessel to the brain.
Three assessed hemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when a blood vessel bleeds into the brain or on its surface.
Findings from the observational studies were combined and accounted for other stroke risk factors like age and smoking.
The study is published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.