A high-fibre diet-which could include a jacket potato, bananas, apples and root vegetables-can help you survive a heart attack and increase your chances of living for a long time afterwards.
Every 10g of fibre you eat each day decreases your chances of dying following a heart attack by 15 per cent, say researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health.
Even a healthy adult should be eating around 38g of fibre a day, according to American guidelines, and yet the average person in the UK and the US eats only 14g.
The Harvard researchers tracked the health of around 4,000 people after they had suffered an initial heart attack. Those who were alive nine years later also had the healthiest diets, with high intakes of fibre.
Achieving the target shouldn't be too difficult. Fibre comes as soluble-and this includes oatmeal, nuts, beans, lentils, apples and blueberries-and insoluble, which includes wholemeal bread, brown rice, carrots, cucumber and tomatoes. A jacket potato or a serving of baked beans represent around 10g of fibre, for instance. The best sources are whole grain foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, lentils, beans and nuts, say the Harvard researchers.
(Source: British Medical Journal, 2104; 348: g2659)