Fibre from fruit and cereal protects the heart

February 25, 2004 in Heart Health, Nutrition Topics in the News

Fibre from fruit and cereal protects the heart
All forms of fibre may not offer equal protection from heart disease, new research released this week suggests. Investigators from the Harvard School of Public Health found that only dietary fibre from cereals and fruit - and not vegetables - appeared to reduce the risk of heart disease.

But even if future studies demonstrate that fibre from vegetables is useless in warding off heart disease, he said, eating vegetables provides people with many other important nutrients that protect against heart disease and other conditions. People should still strive to eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables each day.

Although researchers have long known that eating fibre can help prevent heart disease, it has been unclear whether different forms of fibre protect people differently, and whether total fibre prevents heart disease just as well in both men and women.

During the study, researchers pooled the results of 10 studies conducted in the U.S. and Europe. All told, the researchers reviewed information collected about fibre and heart disease from more than 330,000 men and women.

They found that for every increase in total fibre intake of 10 grams per day (the amount found in one-half cup of 100% bran cereal), the risk of developing heart disease within the next six to ten years fell by 14%. The same increment in fibre intake was associated with 27% decrease in the risk of dying from heart-related illness.

However, only fibre from fruit and whole grains appeared to reduce the risk of heart disease, while fibre from vegetables had no influence on heart health. Eating more fibre appeared to reduce the risk of heart disease equally well in both men and women. Studies have shown that fibre can protect the heart by reducing levels of so-called \\\"bad\\\" (LDL) cholesterol, decreasing the risk of blood clots and lowering blood pressure.

Although fibre from vegetables overall exerted no protective effect on the heart, fibre from certain \\\"high quality\\\" vegetables may still reduce the risk of disease. Specifically, people who don�t opt for starchy vegetables like corn or potatoes but instead choose green, leafy vegetables that are fresh or frozen, rather than overly processed, may see some heart-healthy benefits.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.