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  health > heart > story pageAIDSAlternative MedicineCancerDiet & FitnessHeartMenSeniorsWomen

Fiber may reduce women's risk of heart disease


June 1, 1999
Web posted at: 5:13 p.m. EDT (2113 GMT)

(CNN) -- A diet high in fiber, particularly breakfast cereals, can reduce a woman's risk of developing coronary heart disease up to 23 percent, according to a study released in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston studied the association between total dietary fiber, fiber from various sources, and a woman's risk of heart disease. The 10-year study, conducted as part of the Nurses' Health Study, looked at 68,782 women ages 37 to 64.

After controlling for other factors, researchers found the women who consumed the most fiber each day, around 23 grams, reduced their risk of coronary heart disease by 23 percent compared to women who consumed the least fiber, less than 12 grams per day.

  • Nutrition comparison of dry cereals
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  • "Our results provide evidence that an increase in foods high in dietary fiber, especially cereal products, may be protective" against heart disease in women,the authors wrote. "This provides further reason to replace refined forms of starch with whole-grain products."

    The authors found that the women who ate the highest amounts of fiber had healthier lifestyles in general, smoking less, exercising more and eating more fruits and vegetables.

    Only the fiber found in cereal was associated with the reduced risk of heart disease in this study.

    Previous research indicates coronary heart disease is the leading killer of women. Previous studies of men have suggested that fiber-rich foods, especially cereal products, protect against it, but data on women were sparse.

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    Journal of the American Medical Association
    Brigham and Women's Hospital
    Harvard Medical School
    American Heart Association
         American Heart Association's Women's Web site
         American Heart Association's A to Z Guide
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