When you talk fiber, you probably think of bowel movements, as fiber is well known to prevent constipation. Some studies have shown that fiber is beneficial for maintaining healthy cholesterol levels. But did you know that fiber could also improve your blood pressure?
A study has found that consuming fiber can help lower one’s risk of heart disease by changing the makeup of gut microbiota.
It has been long studied how bacteria in the gut may influence blood flow through the arteries. In fact, it has been uncovered that microbes have an impact on different areas of health.
When you add more fiber to your diet, microbes can thrive and produce more short chain fatty acids, which can help protect the body against a slew of health conditions.
For the study, the researchers fed the mice a high-fiber diet, which was found to produce more short chain fatty acids, along with improving heart function and blood pressure.
Lead researcher Francine Marques explained, “We need to understand more about how to prevent high blood pressure. Because it often has no symptoms, it can go undetected for years or decades – and by the time it’s discovered, it’s sometimes too late. We know that diets high in vegetables and fruit are linked to healthier blood pressure, and we believe this may be through the bacteria in our gut.”
As you know, living with high blood pressure is dangerous for your heart and overall health. Marques explained, “When the pressure in the heart is constantly high, the walls of the heart become thicker as a way of coping with the extra pressure. But in doing so, the heart also becomes stiff and less efficient and this increases the risk of heart failure in the long run.”
The researchers concluded that greater count of short chain fatty acids in the gut may help prevent heart problems and lower blood pressure. As the research reveals, this can be attained by increasing your fiber intake. Additional studies on humans are required to confirm the findings.
Marques concluded, “So far one study in humans has found that people with high blood pressure and people with normal blood pressure have a different balance of gut microbes. But in this study the people with high blood pressure were taking medication so it’s possible that the medication was having an effect.”