Eating more fiber may lower risk of first-time stroke

March 28, 2013

Eating more fiber may decrease your risk of first-time stroke, according to new research in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

Dietary fiber is the part of the plant that the body doesn't absorb during digestion. Fiber can be soluble, which means it dissolves in water, or insoluble.

Previous research has shown that dietary fiber may help reduce risk factors for stroke, including high blood pressure and high blood levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) "bad" cholesterol.

In the new study, researchers found that each seven-gram increase in total daily fiber intake was associated with a 7 percent decrease in first-time stroke risk. One serving of whole wheat pasta, plus two servings of fruits or vegetables, provides about 7 grams of fiber, researchers said.

"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," said Diane Threapleton, M.Sc., lead author of the study and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Leeds' School of Food Science & Nutrition in Leeds, United Kingdom.

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.

Findings from the observational studies were combined and accounted for other stroke risk factors like age and smoking.

The results were based on total dietary fiber. Researchers did not find an association with soluble fiber and stroke risk, and lacked enough data on insoluble fiber to make any conclusions.

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.

"Most people do not get the recommended level of fiber, and increasing fiber may contribute to lower risk for strokes," Threapleton said. "We must educate consumers on the continued importance of increasing fiber intake and help them learn how to increase fiber in their diet."

In the United States, stroke is the fourth leading cause of death, killing more than 137,000 people annually. Among survivors, the disease is a leading cause of disability.

In addition to following a nutritious diet, the American Heart Association recommends being physically active and avoiding tobacco to help prevent stroke and other heart and blood vessel diseases.
-end-
Co-authors are: Darren C. Greenwood, Ph.D.; Charlotte E.L. Evans, Ph.D.; Christine L. Cleghorn, M.Sc.; Camilla Nykjaer, M.Sc.; Charlotte Woodhead, M.Sc.; Janet E. Cade, Ph.D.; Christopher P. Gale, Ph.D.; and Victoria J. Burley, Ph.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

The U.K. Department of Health for England and Kellogg Marketing and Sales Company (UK) Ltd. funded the study.

For the latest heart news, follow @HeartNews on Twitter.

Read more about whole grains and fiber from the American Heart Association, along with simple ways of adding more fiber to your diet.

Statements and conclusions of study authors published in American Heart Association scientific journals are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the association's policy or position. The association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific association programs and events. The association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations are available at http://www.heart.org/corporatefunding.

American Heart Association

Related Stroke Articles from Brightsurf:

Stroke alarm clock may streamline and accelerate time-sensitive acute stroke care
An interactive, digital alarm clock may speed emergency stroke care, starting at hospital arrival and through each step of the time-sensitive treatment process.

Stroke patients with COVID-19 have increased inflammation, stroke severity and death
Stroke patients who also have COVID-19 showed increased systemic inflammation, a more serious stroke severity and a much higher rate of death, compared to stroke patients who did not have COVID-19, according a retrospective, observational, cross-sectional study of 60 ischemic stroke patients admitted to UAB Hospital between late March and early May 2020.

'Time is vision' after a stroke
University of Rochester researchers studied stroke patients who experienced vision loss and found that the patients retained some visual abilities immediately after the stroke but these abilities diminished gradually and eventually disappeared permanently after approximately six months.

More stroke awareness, better eating habits may help reduce stroke risk for young adult African-Americans
Young African-Americans are experiencing higher rates of stroke because of health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, yet their perception of their stroke risk is low.

How to help patients recover after a stroke
The existing approach to brain stimulation for rehabilitation after a stroke does not take into account the diversity of lesions and the individual characteristics of patients' brains.

Kids with headache after stroke might be at risk for another stroke
A new study has found a high incidence of headaches in pediatric stroke survivors and identified a possible association between post-stroke headache and stroke recurrence.

High stroke impact in low- and middle-income countries examined at 11th World Stroke Congress
Less wealthy countries struggle to meet greater need with far fewer resources.

Marijuana use might lead to higher risk of stroke, World Stroke Congress to be told
A five-year study of hospital statistics from the United States shows that the incidence of stroke has risen steadily among marijuana users even though the overall rate of stroke remained constant over the same period.

We need to talk about sexuality after stroke
Stroke survivors and their partners are not adequately supported to deal with changes to their relationships, self-identity, gender roles and intimacy following stroke, according to new research from the University of Sydney.

Standardized stroke protocol can ensure ELVO stroke patients are treated within 60 minutes
A new study shows that developing a standardized stroke protocol of having neurointerventional teams meet suspected emergent large vessel occlusion (ELVO) stroke patients upon their arrival at the hospital achieves a median door-to-recanalization time of less than 60 minutes.

Read More: Stroke News and Stroke Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.