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Increasing fiber intake following heart attack improves long-term survival rate

Written by | 21 Jul 2014 | All Medical News

by Bruce Sylvester – Heart attack survivors appear to live longer by increasing dietary intake of fiber, and consumption of increased cereal fiber is especially beneficial, researchers reported on April 29, 2014 in the British Medical Journal/bmj.com.

The investigators used data from two big US studies, the Nurses’ Health Study of 121,700 female nurses, and the Health Professional Follow-up Study of 51,529 male health professionals. In both, subjects completed detailed lifestyle habit inventories every two years.

They conducted an analysis of data on 2,258 women and 1,840 men who survived a first myocardial infarction. These subjects were tracked for an average of nine years after the heart attack, during which 682 women and 451 men died.

The subjects were divided into five groups/quintiles based on the quantity of fiber consumed after the heart attack.

They found that the top quintile, those who ate most fiber, achieved a 25% lower chance of any-cause death during the nine years after their heart attack, compared with the lowest quintile.

And when evaluating only for cardiovascular causes of death (heart attack, stroke and coronary heart disease), the investigators found that the top quintile had a 13% lower mortality risk than the bottom quintile.

Evaluating for the three different fiber-consumption types,  cereal, fruit and vegetable, they found that only higher cereal fiber intake was strongly associated with an increase of long-term survival after a heart attack. Breakfast cereal was the main source of dietary fiber.

In their analyses, the researchers adjusted  for age, medical history and other dietary and lifestyle habits.

“Future research on lifestyle changes post-MI 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 authors concluded.

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