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Fiber Shows Heart Health Benefits

People usually associate fiber with benefits to their digestive systems but research has been proving that there are more health benefits than just digestion. A recent Swedish study suggests that high fiber intake could be associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

The researchers were based at Lund University in Sweden. Their findings were published online ahead of print on February 27, 2012, in the journal PloS One.

The study included 8,139 men and 12,535 women between the ages of 44 and 73 who participated in the Malmo Diet and Cancer cohort in Sweden. None of the participants had a history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes.

The researchers determined eating habits through a food frequency questionnaire and interview. They also collected sociodemographic and lifestyle data.

Over 13.5 years of follow up, 1,089 men and 687 women reported instances of cardiovascular disease. The researchers noted that high fiber intake was associated with lower risk of ischemic cardiovascular disease in women and ischemic stroke in men.

Despite the fact that the results were more pronounced in women, the researchers were excited to find heart protective effects of fiber in men as well.

Previous studies have linked fiber consumption with lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, regulating blood sugar for people with diabetes and breast cancer prevention.

Soluble fiber can be found naturally in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium. Insoluble fiber can be found in whole wheat and grains, brown rice, fruit, broccoli, cabbage and dark leafy vegetables.

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