Researchers at INSERM and INRA looked at the dietary records of almost 6,000 men and women, which gave them an insight into the different types of fibre - including soluble and insoluble - consumed by this population.
Although dietary fibre is widely recommended to improve health, the relationship between fibre sources and heart disease risk factors has been little studied, they said.
The highest total dietary fibre and non-soluble dietary fibre intakes were associated with a significantly lower risk of overweight as well as blood pressure, cholesterol, triacylglycerols, and homocysteine.
When compared with insoluble fibre, soluble dietary fibre was less effective, they report in this month's American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (vol 82, no 6, pp1185-1).
Fibre from cereals was associated with a lower body mass index, blood pressure, and homocysteine concentration.
Fibre from vegetables also appeared to help lower blood pressure and homocysteine concentration while fruit-derived fibre was associated with a lower waist-to-hip ratio and blood pressure.
Fiber from dried fruit or nuts and seeds was associated with a lower body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, and fasting glucose concentrations.
The findings support fibre's protective role against cardiovascular disease and recommendations for its increased consumption, concluded the researchers.