Prevent a Stroke? Eat Whole Wheat Bread!

Data from eight studies just published in the journal, Stroke, showed that for every seven-gram-per-day increase in the consumption of fiber, there was a 7% reduction in the risk of first-time stroke.  The studies all included at least a three-year follow-up component, adding to their observational validity.

In terms of what was the most effective type of fiber to achieve the maximum degree of protection, water-soluble fiber (nuts, beans) was best.  Insoluble fiber and cereal fiber were also somewhat effective. Fruits and vegetables contain both types of fiber, though there was not enough data on those foods considered separately to draw valid conclusions about their effect.

Soluble fibers attract water and form a gel, which slows down digestion. Soluble fiber delays the emptying of your stomach and makes you feel full, which helps control weight. Slower stomach emptying may also affect blood sugar levels and have a beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity, which may help control diabetes. Soluble fibers can also help lower LDL (“bad”) blood cholesterol by interfering with the absorption of dietary cholesterol.

  • Sources of soluble fiber: oatmeal, oat cereal, lentils, apples, oranges, pears, oat bran, strawberries, nuts, flax seeds, beans, dried peas, blueberries, psyllium, cucumbers, celery, and carrots.

Insoluble fibers are considered gut-healthy fiber because they have a laxative effect and add bulk to the diet, helping prevent constipation. These fibers do not dissolve in water, so they pass through the gastrointestinal tract relatively intact and speed up the passage of food and waste through your gut. Insoluble fibers are mainly found in whole grains and vegetables.

  • Sources of insoluble fiber: whole wheat, whole grains, wheat bran, corn bran, seeds, nuts, barley, couscous, brown rice, bulgur, zucchini, celery, broccoli, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, dark leafy vegetables, raisins, grapes, fruit, and root vegetable skins.

There is always some benefit to consuming additional fiber, irrespective of what type, so make a point to increase your intake of this clearly beneficial dietary component!

 

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