A significant association between low dietary fiber intake and cardio-related risks, including metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular inflammation and obesity, has been found by a new study published in The American Journal of Medicine.

Data from 23,168 subjects in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 1999-2010 was used to examine the role dietary fiber plays in heart health, according to a press release.

The study also found that fiber consumption falls below the recommended daily intake of:

• 38g per day for men aged 19-50 years

• 30g per day for men 50 and over

• 25g for women aged 19-50 years; and

• 21g per day for women over 50

According to the study, the mean dietary fiber intake was only 16.2g per day across all demographics.

“Overall, the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome, inflammation, and obesity each decreased with increasing quintiles of dietary fiber intake,” said senior investigator Cheryl R. Clark, M.D., Sc.D., Center for Community Health and Health Equity, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston. “Compared with participants in the lowest quintile of dietary fiber intake, participants in the highest quintile of dietary fiber intake had a statistically significant lower risk of having the metabolic syndrome, inflammation and obesity.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, which did not participate in this study, high-fiber foods include cooked artichoke, with 10.3 grams of fiber per cup; black beans, with 15.0 grams of fiber per cut; and raspberries, with 8 grams of fiber per cup. Click here for a comprehensive list of high-fiber foods.