Women who eat a high-fibre diet increase their protection against cardiovascular disease, a recent study has claimed.
Swedish scientists from Lund University discovered that women who consume a high-fibre diet are 25% less likely to be struck down with heart disease than those who eat little amounts of fibre.
Researchers investigated the eating habits of over 20,000 people from Malmö in Sweden, and how 13 essential nutrients (including fibre, fats, proteins, carbohydrates) might play a role in the onset of cardiovascular disease.
"Women who ate a diet high in fibre had an almost 25% lower risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease compared with women who ate a low-fibre diet,” explains Peter Wallström, a research from the study.
In contrast, the effects were less pronounced in men, however they did discover a fibre-rich diet slashed a man's risk of stroke. Although the exact reason for this discrepancy is unknown, researchers theorise that women may consume fibre from healthier food sources than men.
“The difference in the results for men and women shows that we need to pay more attention to gender when we conduct research on diet”, adds Wallström.
Eat yourself to a healthy heart with these cardiovascular-friendly foods.
Oats contain beta glucan, a soluble fibre that helps reduce cholesterol levels, especially LDL (bad cholesterol), which damage the heart.
Green leafy vegetables like spinach, fenugreek, pak choy, radish leaves, lettuce are known to reduce the risk of heart disease as they are rich sources of folic acid, magnesium, calcium and potassium - the essential minerals for keeping the heart functioning properly. Studies have shown that one daily serving of green leafy vegetables can lower the risk of heart disease by 11%.
Soy is a healthy protein alternative to red meat, as it has a low saturated fat content, no cholesterol and even increases your HDL 'good' cholesterol, which is good news for your heart.
Regular consumption of tomatoes is known to reduce the risk of heart disease, as they contain a rich source of vitamin K, which help prevent hemorrhages.
Wholegrains contain high levels of vitamin E, iron, magnesium and a host of anti-oxidants, which are all beneficial to the heart as they help reduce blood pressure.
Apples contain guercetin, a photochemical containing anti-inflammatory properties, vital for keeping blood clots at bay, which can lead to heart attacks.
Almonds, when eaten in moderation, are known to lower cholesterol levels as they contain monosaturate fats (the 'good' fats), as well as vitamin B17, vitamin E and minerals like magnesium, iron and zinc.
Red wine (when drank in moderation) can be good for the heart as it contains a powerful antioxidant called resveratrol, which helps prevent damage to blood vessels, reduces "bad" cholesterol and prevents blood clots.
Interestingly, the study didn’t find any definite links between the other nutrients (for example, saturated fat and sugar) and the risk of cardiovascular disease.
However, the study authors warn this information should be taken with caution: “Almost everyone eats more saturated fat than recommended, including the participants in many other population studies,” says Wallström .
“It is therefore difficult to compare recommended and high fat intake. Other types of study that have been carried out have shown that those who limit their fat and sugar intake are at lower risk of cardiovascular disease”,
These study results were published in the scientific journal, PLoS One.
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