Fiber for (the post-heart attack) life

New analysis of research suggests fiber helps people who have suffered heart attack live longer.

Heart attack survivors who eats lots of fiber, live longer. And eating that fiber in the form of cereal is even better. This research gift to cereal makers was published in the British Medical Journal and noted on

Boston-based researchers analyzed data from two large U.S. studies, the Nurses’ Health Study of 121,7000 female nurses and the Health Professional Follow-Up Study of 51529 male health pros. Participants completed detailed questionnaires on their lifestyle habits every two years.

The researchers focused on 2,258 women and 1,840 men who survived a first myocardial infarction (MI) during the course of the studies. They were followed for nine years. During that time, 682 women and 451 men died.

The subjects who ate the most fiber had a 25 percent lower chance of dying in those nine years compared with the people who ate the least fiber. Every 10 grams per day increase in fiber intake was associated with a 14 percent lower risk of dying in that period.

When the researchers looked at the three different fiber types -- cereal, fruit and vegetable – for once, Brussels sprouts and kale were not the answer. (Not that we don’t love our cruciferous veggies, but for the love of god, people…). Only higher cereal fiber intake was strongly associated with an increased chance of long-term survival after a heart attack. Breakfast cereal was the main source of dietary fiber.

Less than five percent of Americans consume the minimum recommended fiber intake of 25 grams per day for women and 38 grams per day for men, according to the article.

Other recent research has shed light on the health benefits of cereal fiber. A review of research on whole wheat and health finds little support for recently popular myths about the evils of wheat consumption, according to Food Navigator-USA.

The review, published in the Journal of Cereal Science, was also noted on Marion Nestle's blog. Noted author Marion Nestle is the Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health and Professor of Sociology at New York University. “The idea that wheat causes obesity or sickness has been rubbished by scientists conducting a review,” writes Food Navigator in an article titled ““No, wheat does not make people fat and sick: Scientists.”

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