(Natural News) A diet loaded with fiber-rich foods could help lower the risk of getting a potentially dangerous cardiovascular disease. In particular, a British review found that high intake of dietary fiber can prevent stroke.
Every year, strokes cause millions of deaths around the world. In the U.S., three out of every four incidences of stroke are first attacks, and ischemic strokes (those that are caused by clotting) are 10 times more prevalent than hemorrhagic strokes.
Most developed countries have developed a means of reducing the chances of stroke. However, the total number of strokes in those countries are still rising as more and more members of their populations grow older and more vulnerable to the disease.
Risk factors for stroke include hypertension and high cholesterol levels. These factors can be improved by eating more foods that are rich in water-soluble fiber.
High amounts of natural fiber can increase sensitivity to insulin. By improving insulin resistance, fiber can prevent the excess production of the hormone, a condition that could lead to hypertension.
Additionally, dietary fiber can help manage the amount of cholesterol in the blood. The fiber is turned into thick gels that slow down the rate of absorption of cholesterol in the small intestine. (Related: Individuals who walk at least 30 minutes a day have a lower risk of severe stroke.)
Multiple studies show that dietary fiber can reduce the chances of stroke
Researchers from the University of Leeds wanted to determine if dietary fiber could reduce the risks of stroke in patients. They canvassed multiple medical databases and collected various cohort studies from 1990 to 2012 that were investigating connections between cardiometabolic health and carbohydrate intake.
A strict screening process identified the eight most appropriate studies, specifically the ones that involved the prevention of primary stroke in healthy participants. The data from those papers were extracted and entered into a new database, which then calculated the estimated dose-response trend in each study.
These studies found a relationship between the amount of dietary fiber and the risk of stroke. Eating more fiber produced a corresponding decrease in the chances of an attack.
Dietary fiber also displayed a protective effect against ischemic stroke in Japanese women and Swedish men. Both water-soluble and insoluble fibers appeared to be beneficial for participants who consumed them.
Fibers from cereals were shown to reduce hemorrhagic stroke and total stroke. Fruit-derived fibers did not seem to have any discernible effect, while vegetable fiber appeared to be very effective in preventing ischemic stroke.
You can avoid stroke by eating more dietary fiber
Based on their findings, the researchers identified a strong link between the total amount of dietary fiber in a person’s diet and the chances of that person suffering a stroke. They recommended increasing the amount of fiber in the diets of both healthy people and those who are vulnerable to cardiovascular diseases.
Adding a mere seven grams of fiber to one’s daily intake led to a whopping seven percent drop in the risk of a stroke. That much fiber can be obtained by eating 70 grams of whole-meal pasta, a piece of fruit, and a serving of tomatoes.
In the U.S., the average daily fiber intake of both men and women are below the recommended levels. Increasing their intakes will bring them much closer to the recommended levels of 21-25 grams per day for women and 30-38 grams for men.
Furthermore, it appeared that the different types of fibers have different effects on each type of stroke. The researchers believed that future studies should evaluate these relationships in order to determine what foods should be recommended to people at risk of strokes.