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Heart Health

How a fiber-rich diet promotes heart health

August 1, 2022

Most Americans don’t get enough fiber, which is plentiful in whole grains and other plants.

photo of an english muffin with peanut butter spread on itPerhaps you’re familiar with fiber’s favorable effects on a person’s digestive health. But this complex carbohydrate has long been linked to better heart health as well. Researchers are now beginning to gain a better understanding of the different mechanisms behind this benefit.

"Even early studies dating back to the ’50s and ’60s suggested there was something important about fiber for preventing heart disease," says Dr. Eric Rimm, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Since then, findings from short-term clinical trials and many large, long-term observational trials suggest that fiber-rich diets may reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke by as much as 30%. Other studies are now investigating how much and what type of fiber makes a difference.

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