Eating extra fruit and vegetables, wholegrains and beans could cut the risk of heart disease, according to a review of the impact of fibre in the diet.
Experts found that every extra 7g (0.25oz) per day of fibre added to the diet cut the risk of coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease by 9pc.
The researchers, from the University of Leeds, said: "Because cardiovascular disease is one of the major causes of death in the UK and prevalence rates among the population are estimated to be around 13-16pc, small reductions in risk could affect many thousands of individuals."
Writing in the 'British Medical Journal' (BMJ), they added: "An additional 7g of fibre can be provided through eating just one portion of wholegrains plus a portion of beans or lentils, or through two to four servings of fruit and vegetables."
Eating more cereal fibre was also found to have an effect in the study, which reviewed data from the US, Europe, Japan and Australia.
Victoria Taylor, from the British Heart Foundation, said: "Don't pass on the sprouts and parsnips this Christmas, and help look after your heart."