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High-fiber diet may slow atherosclerosis

Diets high in cereal fiber and whole-grain products may slow the progression of atherosclerosis in postmenopausal women.

High-fiber diet may slow atherosclerosis

Diets high in cereal fibre and whole-grain products may slow the progression of atherosclerosis, plaque build-up in the arteries, in postmenopausal women. Several studies have linked increased dietary fiber, especially cereal fiber, with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and death, but most of them have been conducted in patients without coronary artery disease and have not directly assessed the effect of fiber intake on the progression of plaque build-up in the arteries of patients with established heart disease. Researchers form Tufts University in Boston looked at the effects of whole grain consumption in 229 postmenopausal women with coronary blockages of at least 30 percent. As part of study, a diet questionnaire was used to estimate fiber intake. Women consuming more than 3 grams of cereal fiber or more than 6 servings of whole grains per week over a 3-year period showed modestly smaller declines in coronary artery blockage compared with women with lower intakes of fiber per week. However, the differences in disease progression were almost that same as that seen in patients treated with cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, the investigators point out. There are now data that women with heart disease who reported consuming products made with whole grains have slower rates of progression of their disease. This conclusion is based on direct measures of plaque progression over a three-year period.
American Heart Journal,
September 2005
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