BOSTON — Dietary fiber was associated with lower levels of cardiovascular inflammation in a cross-sectional analysis that included 23,168 men and non-pregnant women age 20 and over in the 1999-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston conducted the analysis, which appeared on-line Oct. 16 in The American Journal of Medicine.

Lower levels of inflammation were seen within each racial and ethnic group. Statistically significant associations between dietary fiber and either obesity or metabolic syndrome were seen only among whites.

Dietary fiber intake consistently remained below recommended adequate intake levels for total fiber defined by the Institute of Medicine. Mean dietary fiber intake averaged between 15.7 grams and 17 grams per day. Mexican Americans, at 18.8 grams of fiber per day, consumed more than non-Hispanic whites at 16.3 grams and non-Hispanic blacks at 13.1 grams.

“Low dietary fiber intake from 1999-2010 in the U.S. and associations between higher dietary fiber and a lower prevalence of cardiometabolic risks suggest the need to develop new strategies and policies to increase dietary fiber intake,” the researchers said.