According to researchers, a high-fiber diet could be the secret to living longer for heart attack survivors.
Individuals who consumed the most fiber had a 25 percent lower chance of dying in the nine years after the heart attack when examined in contrast with those who consumed the least fiber. In fact, every 10g per day increase in fiber intake was linked with a 15 percent lower risk dying over the nine-year follow-up period.
Researchers examined data from two U.S. studies, the Nurses’ Health Study of 121,700 female nurses and the Health Professional Follow-up Study of 51,529 male health professionals. Participants completed questionnaires on their lifestyle habits every two years.
Researchers assessed 2,258 women and 1,840 men who endured a heart attack during the course of the studies. This group was followed for an average of nearly nine years after their heart attack.
Participants were split into five groups based on how much fiber they consumed after their heart attack. The top quintile — the group that consumed the most fiber — had a 25 percent lower chance of dying from any cause during the nine years after their attack compared with the group that consumed the least fiber.
Interestingly, only cereal fiber intake was strongly linked with an increased chance of long-term survival after a heart attack.
“Future research on lifestyle changes post-[heart attack] should focus on a combination of lifestyle changes and how they may further reduce mortality rates beyond what is achievable by medical management alone,” the researchers write.
High dietary fiber intake can enhance blood lipid levels and lower the risk of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.
According to the American Heart Association, fiber is classified as soluble or insoluble. Soluble fibers modestly lower LDL cholesterol beyond levels achieved by a diet low in saturated and trans fats and cholesterol alone.
The findings are described in greater detail on bmj.com.