New Study Finds How A High-Fiber Diet Can Prevent Heart Disease & Diabetes
We're living in the age of information. Just think about it: Almost any question you have can be answered on the spot with a simple Google search. In many ways, this is a great thing, but when it comes to our health, it can sometimes backfire. Being confronted with too much advice—many of it contradictory—can leave us confused, overwhelmed, and unmotivated, which is why a new study showing that one simple dietary change can improve health is worth paying attention to.
Presented at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) Middle East Conference 2019 with the 10th Emirates Cardiac Society Congress, the study showed that patients who went on a high-fiber diet had significant improvements in their health, including their fasting glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
How a high-fiber diet improves health.
The team of researchers, from the Care Well Heart and Super Specialty Hospital in Amritsar, India, tracked the fiber intake of 200 diabetic adults for six months. The participants received regular nutrition counseling sessions and received diet "prescriptions" that outlined specific nutrition guidelines—including food groups and portion sizes—that they were expected to follow over the study period. They were given checkups at the beginning of the study and then follow-ups at the three-month and six-month mark.
The "high-fiber" group consumed 20 to 25% more than the recommended allowances of fiber (which is about 24 to 20 grams per day). The researchers tracked the participants' fiber intake diligently over the study period through telephone calls with the participants—which were scheduled three times a week—and having the patients send photos of their meals via WhatsApp.
After six months, the participants on the high-fiber diet showed attention-grabbing improvements in their health, including a 9% reduction in serum cholesterol, a 23% reduction in triglycerides, and a 15 and 28% reduction in systolic blood pressure and fasting glucose, respectively. The results clearly showed that a high-fiber diet has a protective effect against cardiovascular disease and improved blood sugar, which play an important role in diabetes but are also major risk factors for heart disease.
How to get more fiber in your diet.
As the lead author on the study, Rohit Kapoor, M.D., said, this study provides some very helpful information. "Firstly, a high fiber diet is important in cases of diabetes and hypertension to prevent future cardiovascular disease," he said. It also showed that a high-fiber diet in combination with medical treatment can improve metabolic markers like blood lipid levels and waist-to-hip ratio, but even more importantly, it showed that "medical nutrition therapy and regular counseling sessions also hold great importance in treating and prevention of diabetes and hypertension." The personalized attention and support patients were given in this study went above and beyond and was likely a big part of their success. Plus, it provides good evidence of how motivated people can be to change their lifestyle if they are just given proper guidance and support.
Increasing your fiber intake is one of the simplest things you can do to improve your health. Luckily, it's also easy to do, as common (and tasty!) foods like chia seeds, oats, chickpeas, artichokes, and bananas are high in fiber. Start with this Red Berry Chia Pudding or make this Chickpea, Cucumber & Avocado Salad for lunch.
Ready to learn how to fight inflammation and address autoimmune disease through the power of food? Join our 5-Day Inflammation Video Summit with mindbodygreen’s top doctors.