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Stave off heart disease, eat fibre rich foods

Written by Editorial Team |Updated : December 22, 2013 11:46 AM IST

Fibre rich foodWe all have heard people telling us about how important fibre is for us. Right from beating constipation, to assisting in weight loss, fibre has been the mainstay of many diet tips. Now, there is a study that has shown that increasing consumption of fibre-rich foods can lower risk of both cardiovascular disease (CVD) and coronary heart disease (CHD), a new study has found. Researchers at the University of Leeds reviewed literature published since 1990 in healthy populations concerning dietary fibre intake and CVD risk.

They took data from six electronic databases. Cohorts of data were used from the US, Europe, Japan and Australia. The study looked at the following fibre intake: total, insoluble (whole grains, potato skins etc), soluble (legumes, nuts, oats, barley etc), cereal, fruit, vegetable and other sources.

Results from analyses of total, insoluble, fruit and vegetable fibre intake showed that the likelihood of a CVD or CHD event steadily lowers with increasing intake. In soluble fibre, a higher reduction was seen in CVD risk than CHD risk and for cereal fibre, the reduced risk of CHD was stronger than the association with CVD.

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A significantly lower risk of both CVD and CHD was observed with every additional 7g per day of fibre consumed. The researchers said these findings are aligned with current recommendations to increase fibre intake and demonstrate a large risk reduction with an achievable increase in daily fibre intake and said this could 'potentially impact on many thousands of individuals.'

They added that an additional 7g of fibre can be achieved through one portion of wholegrains (found in bread, cereal, rice, pasta) plus a portion of beans/lentils or two to four servings of fruit and vegetables. The researchers concluded that 'diets high in fibre, specifically from cereal or vegetable sources ... are significantly associated with lower risk of CHD and CVD and reflect recommendations to increase intake.'

Greater intake from fruit fibre was associated with lower CVD risk. They recommend further work on the association with soluble or insoluble types of fibre. The study was published in the British Medical Journal.

Here are ten tips from leading cardiologist, Dr Aashish Contractor on how you can prevent a cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease.

Kick the butt

The chemicals found in tobacco can damage your heart and blood vessels, leading to narrowing of the arteries, which in turn can lead to a heart attack. It also increases your heart rate and blood pressure. Even occasional or 'social smoking' is dangerous and increases the risk of heart disease. The good news is that no matter how long you have been smoking, you will feel better, and begin reaping rewards as soon as you kick the habit. (Also read: Why you should quit smoking)

Eat healthy for your heart

One of the starting points is to revamp your diet and make smart substitutions such as switching to heart-healthy cooking oils like canola oil that is high in mono and polyunsaturated fats which help in reducing the risk of coronary artery disease. Canola oil also contains omega-3 fatty acids, a type of polyunsaturated fat, which may decrease your risk of heart attack, protect against irregular heartbeats and lower blood pressure. Limit your intake of salt and sugar as excessive consumption can lead to high blood pressure or cholesterol. Add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your diet. (Read: Take the natural route to heart health home remedies that work!)

Just move it

Avoid leading a sedentary lifestyle; exercising daily is a must, even if it is for 30-45 min. Regular physical activity helps you control your weight and reduce your chances of developing conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, which may put a strain on your heart. Go for a walk; try some yoga, dance or aerobics to stay active, upbeat and positive. Your exercise sessions don't have to be strenuous, even taking the stairs instead of the elevator counts! (Read: Supercharge your cardio workout)

Keep your cool

Stress can create an unhealthy lifestyle as one may take up excessive smoking, drinking, and binging, which in turn are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Being stressed may also trigger reduced blood flow to the heart, irregular heart beat and increase the chances of your blood clotting, all of which can have adverse effects on your heart health. (Read: Feeling stressed? Try these natural remedies)

Know your heart, love your heart

More and more Indians are falling prey to heart disease. There are various reasons for this including a sedentary lifestyle, genetic predisposition, pollution, smoking, drinking, a fatty diet and a general ignorance about what causes heart ailments. However, we at www.thehealthsite.com intend to fight that by covering every aspect of cardiovascular health including diet, expert advice, exercise, natural remedies, diagnosis and treatment, specific heart advice for women and more this month.

With inputs from PTI

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