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Fibrous Foods Make for a Healthy Heart

High fiber intake has been linked in numerous studies to a reduced risk of colon cancer, but recent evidence suggests it may do a world of good for an even more vital organ: the heart.

In a study published in the Feb. 23, 2004 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, data were compiled from 10 U.S. and European studies involving a total of 330,000 adults. Researchers evaluated data on the subjects' diets, paying particular attention to the average amount of fiber - in the form of whole grains, fruits and vegetables - consumed by each subject.

Analysis of all 10 studies made one thing perfectly clear: Consuming fiber derived from cereal and fruits reduces the risk of heart disease. More than 5,000 study participants were diagnosed with heart disease and 2,011 died from the condition. While the risk of developing heart disease was reduced by 14 percent for every 10 grams of fiber eaten per day, the risk of dying from the disease was reduced by 25 percent when the same amount of fiber was consumed.

With America in the midst of a low-carbohydrate-diet frenzy, David L. Katz, MD, MPH, associate clinical professor and director of the Yale Prevention Research Center at Yale University, emphasized the importance of fiber: "It is the age of carbohydrate restriction. And in most instances, rapid weight loss is pursued on diets that toss out whole grains and fruits along with simple sugar and refined starch."

So, while you're trying to get in shape and lose weight, don't eliminate all of the whole grains, fruits and vegetables from your diet! In the short term, you may drop the pounds, but in the long term, you'll put your heart at risk.

Reference:

Pereira MA, et al. Dietary fiber and risk of coronary heart disease: a pooled analysis of cohort studies. Archives of Internal Medicine Feb. 23, 2004;164(4), pp370-6.

Reinberg S. 'Good' carbs cut heart disease risk. HealthFinder (www.healthfinder.gov), May 17, 2004.

Additional information on the benefits of proper nutrition can be found at http://www.chiroweb.com/tyh/nutrients.html.

   

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