Fiber will make you full, but a new study claims that it might also help you live longer.
Diets high in fiber – especially whole grain fiber – may cut one’s risk of heart disease, cancer, infection and respiratory diseases.
“The results from this study suggest that fiber may have broader health benefits than what has been found before,” said Frank Hu, who studies nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health and wrote an editorial accompanying the study. “The bottom line is that fiber should be a staple in our diet, and we should strive to eat as much fiber as possible.”
Filling Up On Fiber
The study tracked 400,000 members of American Association of Retired People for nine years. Participants ranged in age from 51 to 71. Data was collected about their eating habits, physical activity levels, weight, and smoking status. Researchers found that men who ate an average of 29 grams of fiber daily, and women who ate 26 grams, were 22 percent less likely to die prematurely than those who only ate an average of 12 grams per day.
Fiber intake also lowered the risk of death from cardiovascular, infectious, and respiratory diseases by 24 points to 56 percent in men, and by 34 points to 59 percent in women.
Eating More Roughage
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that adult women should eat 25 grams of fiber each day and men 38 grams.
Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables and beans, but fiber from grains was most strongly tied to the lowered risk in the study.
Some of the highest fiber is found in raspberries (1 cup = 8 grams), whole-wheat spaghetti (1 cup = 6.2 grams), cooked split peas (1 cup = 16.3 grams), and cooked artichokes (1 medium = 10.3 grams).