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Adding more fiber to your diet can lower stroke risk, study says

April 3, 2013

It's no secret that diet plays a key role in healthy aging, and new research suggests you consider adding more fiber to your meals. Scientists from England's University of Leeds found that people who had more fiber in their diets had about a 7 percent lower risk of stroke. 

Published in the journal Stroke, the results were based off an analysis of eight previously conducted trials. Researchers determined that adding just 7 more grams of fiber to your diet each day yielded a substantial impact. Specifically, the study claimed that water soluble fiber, which is commonly found in foods such as beans and nuts, offers the greatest benefits. Non-water soluble fiber still had a positive effect, though it was less substantial. Experts say the results are particularly encouraging, because it's not hard to boost fiber intake.

"Seven grams a day increase is an achievable goal," the study's senior author Victoria J. Burley told The New York Times. "You're talking about swapping white bread for whole wheat or increasing vegetable and fruit by two portions a day."

The findings are significant given the prevalence of strokes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 795,000 people suffer from a stroke each year, an estimated 130,000 of whom die as a result. Luckily, there are a number of different foods you can add to your diet that are good sources of fiber, making it easy to improve your health and lower your risk of stroke. 

Most fruits and vegetables are good options, but according to the Mayo Clinic, apples, bananas and pears are particularly good choices. Oatmeal, brown rice and whole wheat pasta are other options that offer you plenty of fiber.