There is convincing evidence that a high dietary fiber intake may lower the risk of coronary heart disease. However, the role of fiber in the prevention of stroke is unclear. We examined the associations of dietary fiber and fiber-rich food intake with risk of stroke within the Alpha-tocopherol, Beta-carotene Cancer Prevention Study.
Between 1985 and 1988, 26 556 Finnish male smokers aged 50–69 years, who had no history of stroke, completed a dietary questionnaire. During a mean follow-up of 13.6 years, 2702 cerebral infarctions, 383 intracerebral hemorrhages and 196 subarachnoid hemorrhages were ascertained.
After adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors and folate and magnesium intakes, there was no significant association between intake of total fiber, water-soluble fiber, water-insoluble fiber, or fiber derived from fruit or cereal sources and risk of any stroke subtype. Vegetable fiber intake, as well as the consumption of fruit, vegetables and cereals, was inversely associated with the risk of cerebral infarction; the multivariate relative risks for the highest quintile of intake as compared with the lowest were 0.86 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.76–0.99) for vegetable fiber, 0.82 (95% CI: 0.73–0.93) for fruit, 0.75 (95% CI: 0.66–0.85) for vegetables and 0.87 (95% CI: 0.74–1.03) for cereals. Vegetable consumption was inversely associated with risk of subarachnoid hemorrhage (relative risk for highest versus lowest quintile: 0.62; 95% CI: 0.40–0.98), and cereal consumption was inversely associated with risk of intracerebral hemorrhage (relative risk: 0.64; 95% CI: 0.41–1.01).
These findings suggest a beneficial effect of the consumption of fruits, vegetables and cereals on stroke risk.
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This ATBC Study was supported by Public Health Service contracts N01-CN-45165, N01-RC-45035 and N01-RC-37004 from the US National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Bethesda, MD. Dr Larsson's postdoctoral research at the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki, Finland, was supported by a grant from the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research.
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Larsson, S., Männistö, S., Virtanen, M. et al. Dietary fiber and fiber-rich food intake in relation to risk of stroke in male smokers. Eur J Clin Nutr 63, 1016–1024 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/ejcn.2009.16
- dietary fiber
- prospective studies
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