Healthy diets include two kinds of fiber:  soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fiber (barley, oats) is helpful in relieving constipation.

Insoluble fiber may be useful in protecting against colorectal cancer and diverticulitis.  It can exist along with soluble fiber, but is found in highest concentrations in the peels, skins and husks of fruits and vegetables and in whole grains.

A new study by Swedish researchers examined dietary habits and prevalence of cardiovascular disease in more than 20,000 adults. With follow-up of over 13.5 years, the study analyzed heart disease and 13 nutritional variables based on food intake questionnaires from 8,139 men and 12,535 women, ages 44-73.  Participants had no prior history of cardiovascular disease.

Scientists found that women who consumed the most fiber were at almost 25% lower risk for heart disease than those women consuming less fiber in their diets.

The association was weaker among men, though a correlation was found linking higher fiber intake to lower incidence of stroke.

Though researchers don’t fully understand the process that makes fiber protective, they believe that the pronounced gender difference in their results merits further research.

from Tufts University Health & Nutrition Update,   May 4, 2012  Study published in PLOS One   and other sources

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