Fiber may decrease risk of stroke

April 7, 2013 at 4:01 PM
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LEEDS, England, April 7 (UPI) -- Each 7-gram -- one-quarter ounce -- increase in total daily fiber intake was linked to a 7 percent decrease in stroke risk, British researchers say.

Diane Threapleton, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Leeds' School of Food Science & Nutrition in England, said one serving of whole wheat pasta, plus two servings of fruits or vegetables, provides about 7 grams of fiber.

"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," Threapleton said in a statement.

The researchers analyzed eight studies published between 1990-2012. Studies reported on all types of stroke with four specifically examining the risk of ischemic stroke, which occurs when a clot blocks a blood vessel to the brain. Three assessed hemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when a blood vessel bleeds into the brain or on its surface.

The average daily fiber intake among U.S. adults is lower than the American Heart Association's recommendation of at least 25 grams per day. Six to eight servings of grains and eight to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables can provide the recommended amount, Threapleton said.

Previous research showed dietary fiber might help reduce risk factors for stroke, including high blood pressure and high blood levels of low-density lipoprotein, the "bad," cholesterol.

The Department of Health for England and Kellogg Marketing and Sales Company in England Ltd. funded the study.

The findings were published in the journal Stroke.

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