Need another reason to eat bread and other whole grains? A recent study published in the journal BMJ has found that heart attack survivors who eat the most fiber, especially from cereal grains like oatmeal and whole-wheat bread, have a 25 percent lower chance of dying from any cause compared to those who eat the least.
The large-scale study, which included 4,000 men and women, analyzed how much fiber people consumed from fruits, vegetables, and cereals to reach its conclusion, although researchers say they're not sure exactly why cereal fiber, particularly from breakfast cereals, proved to be the most beneficial. Lead researcher Dr. Shanshan Li of the Harvard School of Public Health says increasing your overall fiber intake from any source is a significant step toward better heart health, as previous studies show high-fiber diets substantially reduce the risk of having a heart attack or developing heart disease in the first place.
"Fiber has been shown to reduce inflammation, improve lipid profile, and improve overall glycemic control," Li says. "Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are all rich in fiber and also contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, which may also be beneficial for health." How much fiber do you need? The USDA recommends adult men consume at least 38 grams of fiber daily, yet less than 5 percent of the U.S. population actually meets this amount.