Fibre-rich foods could be key to beating stroke
London: People who eat a high fibre diet such as whole wheat pasta, fruits and nuts experience a lower risk of stroke, a new study has found.
Dietary fibre is the part of the plant that the body is unable to completely digest. Fibre rich foods include wholegrains, vegetables, fruit, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Previous research has shown that dietary fibre may help reduce risk factors for stroke, including obesity, high blood pressure and high blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) "bad" cholesterol.
This new study by the University of Leeds shows that a seven gramme increase in dietary fibre per day was associated with a seven per cent decrease in first-time stroke risk. This is the equivalent of one serving of whole wheat pasta and two servings of fruits or vegetables.
"Increasing your fibre intake doesn't necessarily mean wholesale change to your diet. It might just mean switching from white bread to wholemeal, or from corn flakes to bran flakes. Its a simple measure with a lot of benefits," said Dr Victoria Burley, the project lead from the School of Food Science and Nutrition.
The researchers analysed, and combined the results of, eight studies published between 1990 and 2012.
The studies reported on all types of stroke with four also examining the particular risk of ischemic stroke, which occurs when a clot blocks a blood vessel to the brain, and three also assessing the particular risk of haemorrhagic stroke, which occurs when a blood vessel bleeds into the brain or on its surface.
"Any long-term increase in intake of fibre-rich foods such as whole-grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts will see the risk of stroke reduce," said Diane Threapleton, lead author of the study.
"This could be particularly important for people with stroke risk factors like being overweight, smoking and having high blood pressure," Threapleton said in a statement.
The study was published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.