Consuming food items rich in fibre, like fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products, especially as a young adult, is likely to confer a lifetime of protection against heart risk, researchers say.
A new study found that adults aged between 20 and 59 years with the highest fibre intake had a significantly lower estimated lifetime risk for heart disease compared to those with the lowest fibre intake.
This is the first known study to show the influence of fibre consumption on the lifetime risk for cardiovascular disease.
“It’s long been known that high-fibre diets can help people lose weight, lower cholesterol and improve hypertension,” said Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, study author and cardiologist at the Feinburg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, US.
“The results of this study make a lot of sense because weight, cholesterol and hypertension are major determinants of your long-term risk for cardiovascular disease,” he said, according to a Feinburg statement.
A high-fibre diet falls into the American Heart Association’s recommendation of 25 grams of dietary fibre or more a day.
Lloyd-Jones said you should strive to get this daily fibre intake from whole foods, not processed fibre bars, supplements and drinks.
“A processed food may be high in fibre, but it also tends to be pretty high in sodium and likely higher in calories than an apple, for example, which provides the same amount of fibre,” Lloyd-Jones said.
Study leader Hongyan Ning examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a nationally representative sample of about 11,000 adults.
The study was presented Wednesday at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in Atlanta.