Fibre Factor: Researchers report protective effect on heart

Consumption of dietary fibre from fruits and cereals may lower the risk of coronary heart disease, say researchers from Harvard University, Boston. They say that dietary fibre, found in fruits, vegetables, grains and cereals, may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure and reducing cholesterol levels. Although studies suggest that the more fibre a person eats, the lower the risk of heart disease, few studies have looked at the relationship between dietary fibre from different sources and heart disease.

Mark A. Pereira, PhD, analyzed the pooled results of several studies to determine whether the source of dietary fibre had any effect on the reduction in heart disease risk. The researchers found that for each 10 gram per day increment of fibre consumed, there was a 14% decrease in risk for coronary heart disease (CHD) events and a 27% decreased risk of dying from coronary heart disease.

“In conclusion, our results suggest that dietary fibre intake during adulthood is inversely associated with CHD risk. Coronary risk was 10 to 30% lower for each 10 gram per day increment of total, cereal or fruit fibre,” the authors write. “Therefore, the recommendations to consume a diet that includes an abundance of fibre-rich foods to prevent CHD are based on a wealth of consistent scientific evidence,” conclude the authors.

JAMA, Feb 23, 2004