A new study confirms the recommendation by the American Heart Association that eating more fiber, especially water-soluble fiber, is beneficial to your heart.
A number of studies have found a connection between dietary fiber intake and the reduction of heart disease. In the current study, researchers focused on the relationship of total and soluble dietary fiber intake and the risk of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease.
The study included 9,776 adults who participated in another study. The participants did not have any diagnosed heart disease at the beginning of the research. Each person completed a form listing what he or she ate for 24 hours. The nutrient intakes were calculated using computer software. The participants were then followed for an average of 19 years to see who developed heart disease.
Researchers report 1,843 of the participants developed coronary heart disease and 3,762 of the participants developed cardiovascular disease. Researchers then compared the dietary fiber intake of all of the participants. They report those who consumed the lowest amount of fiber (about six grams) were at a greater risk of having a heart problem compared to those who ate the most fiber (about 21 grams). Specifically researchers report a 12-percent lower risk of coronary heart disease and an 11-percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease for people who eat more than 22 grams of fiber a day. Researchers also found those who consumed water-soluble fiber had a decreased risk of heart problems. Cereal grains and legumes are excellent sources of water-soluble fiber.
Clearly the consumption of dietary fiber is key in reducing the risk of future heart problems, according to the research. Researchers say this study supports the existing American Heart Association recommendation to increase dietary fiber intake from foods to approximately 25 to 30 grams a day in order to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease.