Yasmina Kattou // Photo credit: THOMAS SAMSON / AFP 09:36 a.m., December 04, 2023

If you are told to eat five fruits and vegetables a day, it is not for nothing and it could prevent heart attacks! An Inserm study has shown that a diet low in fibre, and therefore low in vegetables, has a harmful influence on the arteries.

It's a refrain we hear a lot, but it's ultimately very important for our health. "Eating five fruits and vegetables a day" could help avoid heart attacks, because taking care of your microbiota means taking care of your arteries. This is what researchers from the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) have revealed, who have analysed the microbiota of mice after a diet high in fat and especially low in fibre. The result is irrevocable.

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Risks of atherosclerosis

Not only did the mice gain weight, but their gut flora became unbalanced and plaques of fat formed around their arteries. It's called atherosclerosis. In fact, the lack of fibre has reduced the production of fatty acids necessary for good health, explains Catherine Lacrosnière, a nutritionist.

"Less fiber means that we actually have less processing into fatty acids. However, this phenomenon leads to local inflammation with a multiplication of immune cells around the intestine," she explains. "And this local inflammation will be transmitted, since these cells will migrate to the arteries and promote atherosclerosis at the origin of cardiovascular disease."

Scientists are now looking to identify bacteria that are particularly beneficial to our arteries. The long-term goal is to provide humans with the fibres and bacteria needed to prevent heart attacks and strokes.