Adding More Fiber to Diet May Decrease Stroke Risk

Eating more fiber may decrease a person’s risk of first-time stroke, according to new research published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

Previous research has shown that dietary fiber may help reduce risk factors for stroke, such as high blood pressure and high blood levels of low-density lipoprotein – commonly called “bad” cholesterol. But a new study shows that for every seven-gram increase in total daily fiber intake, a person may decrease their risk for a first-time stroke by 7 percent, according to a news release from the American Heart Association.

More than 137,000 people die annually from stroke. It is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S., according to health statistics.

“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,” said Diane Threapleton, lead author of the UK study.

The American Heart Association recommends adults consume 25 grams of fiber every day. It’s the equivalent of eating six to eight servings of grains and eight to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables, the news release states.

“Most people do not get the recommended level of fiber, and increasing fiber may contribute to lower risk for strokes,” Threapleton said. “We must educate consumers on the continued importance of increasing fiber intake and help them learn how to increase fiber in their diet.”

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