Corresponding author Donald M. Lloyd-Jones of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, a cardiologist at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and lead author Dr. Hongyan Ning, also of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, examined data of some 11,000 people from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Ning and colleagues used a formula involving diet, blood pressure, cholesterol, smoking status and history of diabetes to predict lifetime risk for cardiovascular disease.
"The results are pretty amazing. Younger people ages 20-39 and middle-aged people ages 40-59 with the highest fiber intake, compared to those with the lowest fiber intake, showed a statistically significant lower lifetime risk for cardiovascular disease," Ning said in a statement.
However, in older adults ages 60-79, dietary fiber intake was not highly linked with less lifetime cardiovascular disease risk, the researchers said.
Lloyd-Jones recommends that people seek their daily fiber intake from whole foods such as apples or whole grains and not processed fiber bars, supplements and drinks.
The findings are scheduled to be presented at the American Heart Association's Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism/Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention scientific sessions in Atlanta.