Fibre improves survival for heart attack patients

Thanks to medical technology, more patients are surviving MI than ever before; adding cereal fibre to their diet may keep them alive even longer

A prospective cohort study published in the British Medical Journal found that an increase in dietary fibre in patients after mycocardial infarcation (MI) was significantly associated with lower all-cause mortality.

The group with the highest fibre intake had a 25% lower chance of dying from all causes and a 13% lower chance of dying from cardiovascular disease.

To evaluate the associations of dietary fibre after MI and changes in dietary fibre intake from before to after MI, researchers examined two large prospective cohort studies: the Nurses' Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study.

The investigators tracked food-frequency questionnaire data on 2258 women and 1840 men who were free of cardiovascular disease, stroke or cancer at enrollment, had survived a first MI during follow-up and were free of stroke at the time of initial onset of MI.

Focusing on the participants’ fibre consumption, researchers divided the participants into five groups based on intake of dietary fibre. They discovered that the group with the highest post-MI fibre intake was significantly associated with lower all-cause mortality (hazard ratio [HR]=0.75; 95% confidence interval [CI]=0.58–0.97).

The team also grouped fibre intake by source — cereal, fruit or vegetable — and noted that greater intake of cereal fibre was more strongly associated with decrease in all-cause mortality (HR=0.73, CI=0.58–0.91) than were other sources of dietary fibre.

Increased fibre intake from before to after MI was also significantly associated with lower all-cause mortality (HR=0.69; CI=0.55–0.87).

The data demonstrated to researchers that even adjusting for the participants’ for age, lifestyle, diet and medical history, adding 10g of cereal fibre daily translated into a decrease in the risk of dying by 15%. Thanks to medical technology, more patients are surviving MI than ever before. Adding cereal fibre to their diet may keep them alive even longer.

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