To Your Health
April, 2013 (Vol. 07, Issue 04)
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High Fiber for Stroke Protection

When it comes to discussing fiber, most people will think of weight loss and better digestion. Now, researchers are attributing a diet high in fiber with it being a protection against a stroke in the future.

Incorporating high fiber foods can actually help you reduce your risk of having a stroke, according to research from eight observational studies, all with at least three years of follow-up.

The study, which was published and highlighted last month in various health journals such as Stroke found that each 7-gram per day increase in fiber intake reduced the risk for a first stroke by about 7 percent.

So what kind of fiber is the kind you should be looking for? Researchers noted things like water soluble fiber — the kind found in beans, nuts and other foods — as well as insoluble fiber and cereal fiber. Both of these seemed to reduce the risk of stroke slightly.

According to background information in the study, the current average fiber intake in the United States is about 13 grams a day for women and 17 for men. Increasing these by 7 grams a day would bring them close to the recommended levels of 21 to 25 grams for women and 30 to 38 for men.

So if you are looking to decrease your risk of stroke make an effort to increase your fiber intake by at least seven grams to have that extra beneficial effect. Some ways to do that is by eating more fruits and vegetables and decreasing your consumption of white breads and crackers and instead choosing multigrain and whole wheat options. Talk to your doctor about other ways to increase dietary fiber in your diet.