Heart Attack Survivors ‘Rescued’ by High Fiber Diet

More Fiber = Less Risk

Heart AttackHeart attack survivors who skate past death can be rescued by incorporating a high-fiber diet. The Harvard School of Public Health in Boston conducted two studies confirming the importance of diet. These two studies–The Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study–both noted that it is important to add a high amount of fiber as well as whole grains to the diet.

The studies showed that those who added fiber to their diet had a 25 percent lower chance of dying within the first nine years after the heart attack compared to those who did nothing to increase their fiber. During that nine-year follow-up period, a fiber increase of 10 grams per day was linked to a 15 percent decreased risk of dying. New studies confirmed by medical experts, validated that the increase of fiber was helpful in promoting artery health. First time survivors of heart attack do better when they switch right away to the high fiber diet. The data analyzed in those two studies came from 4,000 US adults. Eric Rimm, an associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, agreed with the research team that diet plays an important role in heart health.

Lead researcher from the Harvard Public School of Health, Shanshan Li, claims that healthy eating does provide additional benefits to one’s health. Health experts recommend that the amount of fiber to be taken after a heart attack is 39 grams per day for men, and 25 grams for women. During the study, participants had to fill out questionnaires, detailing what they ate and how often. Total fiber intake was calculated, including where the fiber came from: grains, fruits or vegetables.

It is unknown whether other factors could also contribute to the longevity of heart attack survivors. Obviously, physical activity is going to contribute to heart health. What is known is that the boost of fiber intake dramatically lowers the risk of heart attack. More fiber equals less risk. Dr. Vivian Mo, cardiologist and director of the Women’s Cardiovascular Center at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, states that cholesterol levels are lowered when a high-fiber diet is implemented.

Another study done at the University of Porto in Portugal, shows that older hearts do better when they stay active. They have better “heart-rate variability.” That refers to the health of both the heart and the nervous system as influenced by a measurement of slight difference in time between each heart beat. Walking improves the heart’s electrical system so that it can respond to sudden and changing demands. Modest physical activity is sufficient during the aging process, so it is important to do something. Luisa Soares-Miranda, another researcher at the Havard School of Public Health, stressed that even the smallest increase in activity has a positive result, while a decrease in activity results in a negative impact.

Since it is important to keep everything moving, an Israeli-based company has created a “vibrating pill” to aid constipation by breaking up stools. Once swallowed, the pill will jiggle its way through the intestinal track, mimicking the natural peristaltic action of the bowel. The end result is a remedy for constipation. Poor diet–specifically, not enough fiber–and lack of exercise contribute to constipation.

The device in the pill is a tiny electrical motor with a micro-battery. The battery will start vibrating six hours after it has been swallowed and will be excreted about two hours later. Although a novel application to the problem, it remains to be seen what the clinical trials prove.

In the opinion of the experts at the Harvard School of Public Health, heart attack survivors are being rescued by indulging in a high-fiber diet.  The results can also suggest that high-fiber diets are beneficial for everyone.

By Jill Boyer-Adriance

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