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Can Fiber Prevent Stroke?

Posted May 19 2013 10:57pm
When a person has a stroke, his or her brain function is losing rapidly because of disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. This can be due to ischemia (lack of blood flow) caused by blockage or a hemorrhage (rupture of a blood vessel or an abnormal vascular structure). About 87 percent of strokes are caused by ischemia.

Stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide. As reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost 800,000 people in the United States suffer stroke that causes 1 out of every 18 deaths, or 130,000 deaths each year.

But stroke is preventable. According to researchers from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, people who have more fiber intake are less likely to suffer from a stroke.
Results of 8 studies, conducted between January 1990 and May 2012 in the United States, Japan, Europe and Australia involving around 500,000 participants, were pulled together into one analysis. Researchers spent between 8 and 19 years following those people who reported on their dietary fiber intake.
Analysis showed that the risk of getting the first stroke decreased by 7 percent for every 7-gram increase in the reported fiber consumption each day. Those who had the most fiber intake had the lowest risk of getting stroke. Even just 2 or 3 grams of fiber per day might affect the stroke risk. The findings were published online on March 28, 2013 in the journal ‘Stroke’.
The study neither proved that eating fiber could directly prevent stroke nor why fiber would be linked to a lower risk of stroke. But it is possible that food high in fiber tends to be low-calorie and helps keep a healthy weight, which in turn lowers stroke risk. In addition, fibrous food has vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, including polyphenols and flavonoids that might make blood vessels more elastic.
In the United States, an average woman consumes 13 grams of fiber and average man gets 17 grams each day. Apparently these are not enough. Institute of Medicine recommends 35 grams for men and 24 grams for women aged 50 and below, and 30 grams and 21 grams for men and women aged above 50 respectively.
It is hoped that the new findings would encourage people to eat more fiber so as to reach the daily-recommended amount. Getting 7 grams of fiber is not really difficult: people just need to eat 2 slices of whole wheat bread and a serving of fruit.
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