Reduce your risk of stroke with fiber

By • Published: August 13th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

It helps prevent Type 2 diabetes, lowers cholesterol, aids in digestion, prevents obesity and reduces the risk of certain types of cancers. That’s not shabby for indigestible plant food … or as it’s better known … fiber. But now, new research highlights another benefit: it can lower your risk of stroke.

Stroke is usually caused by a blood clot in the brain that blocks an artery or a blood vessel. Stoke is generally perceived as posing a threat to older people; however, due to factors such as increased rates of obesity and drug use, more young people are suffering stokes now than in previous decades. In a recent 10-year period, the occurrence of stroke in American adults under 55 jumped from one in eight to one in five.

But fiber could prove preventive against these debilitating and sometimes fatal attacks. According to data collected from eight studies, you may reduce your risk of stroke by about 7 percent with each seven-gram increase of total daily fiber.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you consume 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories that you consume; however, most people in the United States are ingesting approximately 12 grams less than they should each day.

So how can you work seven additional grams of fiber into your diet? Add shredded veggies to foods you already love, such as pizza or sauces. Replace side dishes with beans, lentils or peas. Eat fruit, don’t juice it — and look for fruit with more than three grams of fiber, like apples, berries and oranges. Nuts and seeds are also excellent sources; even sprinkling flax or chia seeds into dough is effective. And of course, choose whole grain when buying bread, cereal and rice.

A few simple changes will help you increase your fiber intake in no time.