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Research finds every 7g increase in daily fibre cuts risk of first-time stroke by 7%

A diet rich in fibre can cut the risk of stroke, one of the leading causes of death and long-term disability in the developed world, scientists claim.

For every 7g increase in daily fibre, the risk of a first-time stroke fell by 7%, the researchers found. That amount of fibre is contained in a bowl of wholewheat pasta plus two servings of fruit or vegetables.

The findings come from a team at Leeds University who analysed eight studies on diet and stroke published between 1990 and 2012. Dietary fibre is the plant matter that cannot be absorbed by the body during digestion.

The results were based on total dietary fibre, and did not distinguish between soluble and insoluble fibre. “Greater intake of fibre-rich foods, such as wholegrains, fruits, vegetables and nuts, are important for everyone, and especially for those with stroke risk factors like being overweight, smoking and having high blood pressure,” Diane Threapleton, who led the study, wrote in the journal Stroke.

There are two main types of stroke. Ischaemic strokes happen when blood vessels become blocked and stop blood going to the brain. Haemorrhagic strokes occur when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures. Both destroy nerve cells in the brain, which can be fatal or cause serious disability. Each year around 150,000 people in Britain suffer a stroke.

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