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APPLE A DAY REALLY MAY KEEP DOCTOR AWAY

SHARE APPLE A DAY REALLY MAY KEEP DOCTOR AWAY

An apple a day, along with a few servings of other fiber-rich foods like raisin bran, broccoli and baked beans, will definitely help keep the cardiologist away, according to a large new study published Wednesday.

The research shows that dietary fiber confers a strong protective effect against heart attacks that goes well beyond the cholesterol-lowering properties that elevated oat bran and other cereal fibers to food-fad status in the late 1980s.Among nearly 44,000 men in the six-year study, those who ate at least 25 grams of fiber a day had 36 percent fewer fatal and nonfatal heart attacks over a six-year period, compared to those who consumed only 12.4 grams - about the U.S. average. Fiber's protective effects seem independent of age, cholesterol levels, smoking, weight and other coronary risk factors.

The study indicates that fiber itself confers strong coronary benefits and is not merely a marker for other healthful habits, according to its authors.

"This suggests there truly is an association with high fiber intake and lowered heart disease. But it also suggests it is not just due to cholesterol lowering," said Eric B. Rimm of the Harvard School of Public Health, first author of the study, which appears in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association.

Fiber-rich foods include cereals, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, peas and beans, apples, bananas, nuts and citrus fruits.