High-fiber diet linked to lower risk of death, chronic diseases

The study found a diet rich in fibre can cut the risk of major diseases
Credit
John Taylor

The results suggest a 15-30 per cent decrease in deaths from heart disease and other conditions when comparing people who eat the highest amount of fibre to those who eat the least. This type of fibre can be found in beans, chickpeas, potatoes, rice, unripe bananas, cereal grains and onion.

Dietary fiber is considered the best carbohydrate, with significant health benefits - foods high in fiber recommended to curb hunger, maintain blood sugar and reduce risk of serious disease.

Most Britons consume less than 20g of dietary fibre per day.

"(And) the breakdown of fibre in the large bowel by the resident bacteria has additional wide-ranging effects including protection from colorectal cancer".

Professor Mann said the health benefits of dietary fibre - contained in foods such as whole grains, pulses, vegetables and fruit - come from its chemistry, physical properties, physiology and its effects on metabolism.

The data suggested that consuming 25-29 grams each day was adequate but higher intakes of dietary fibre could provide even greater protection. Eating high-fiber foods has also reduced the incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer by 16-24%.

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According to the study, 15 per cent to 30 per cent reduced risk of death and chronic diseases in people who included the most fibre in their diets as compared to those with the lowest intake.

The study offers another reason why you may consider upping your fibre intake daily.

The study also found that diets with a low glycaemic index and low glycaemic load provided limited support for protection against type 2 diabetes and stroke only.

So, how does one increase fiber in the diet? A person could add 8 grams of fiber to their diet with a breakfast of a bran flakes, four dried apricots and a handful of almonds.

Whole grains are also important in fiber content and important to the diet.

"We've known for a long time that eating foods high in fiber is good for us and helps to aid digestion", wrote Stokes-Lampard, who was not involved in the new analysis, "so it's reassuring to see this high-quality research showing how far-reaching these benefits may be for our long-term health and wellbeing, and confirming why it's so important to include these foods in our diet".

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