Researchers: Walking more, consuming more fiber benefits heart

Forbes contributor Larry Husten writes that two new studies suggest that “walking more and eating more fiber are probably good for your heart.”

AFP reports that in one of the studies, published in the Lancet, researchers found that individuals “with a glucose-tolerance problem … can cut the risk of heart attack or stroke by simply walking an additional 2,000 steps per day.” Reuters reports that researchers analyzed data on approximately 9,300 individuals participating in a study.

On its website, TIME reports, “Using statistical modeling, the researchers studied the association between the number of steps the participants took on average and their relative risk for heart events in that year, accounting for potentially confounding factors that could influence heart disease rates such as diet and the participants’ previous history of heart issues.” The researchers found that “two thousand steps seemed to be the magic number.”

HealthDay reports that in the other study, published in BMJ, researchers found that “the more total, insoluble, and fruit and vegetable fiber that people consumed, the lower their risk of both” coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. The study indicated that “increased consumption of soluble fiber led to a greater reduction in cardiovascular disease risk than coronary heart disease risk.” Researchers also found that “cereal fiber reduced the risk of coronary heart disease more than the risk of cardiovascular disease.”

The British study found that adding just 7 grams per day of fiber to the diet boosts heart health. You can get that amount of fiber from the following:

  • 1 1/2 cups of cooked oatmeal (7 grams)
  • 1 1/4 cups of shredded wheat cereal (8 grams)
  • Two slices of whole-wheat bread (6 to 7 grams)
  • One large pear (8 grams)
  • 1 cup raspberries (8 grams)
  • 1/2 cup black beans (7.5 grams)
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