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Yes it’s true, increasing the intake of fiber-rich foods will allow you to live a healthier and longer life.
Although this fact has been known for quite some time….some new research has proven to be quite convincing in supporting all the previous research which has also shown a positive association between the increased intake of fiber and longevity.
The new study in this case was conducted at the Westmead Institute in New South Wales, Australia,and was published in The Journal of Gerontology.
This new study evaluated over 1600 people over the age of 49 who were free of any chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer or stroke and followed these folks for 10 years. During the study period, the researchers regularly evaluated the food consumed by this group on food frequency questonnaires and personal interviews conducted on regular follow-up sessions.
The participants were also assessed regarding their own attainment of successful aging (absence of disability, depressive symptoms, cognitive impairment, respiratory symptoms, and chronic diseases or coditions)
After the 10 year follow-up, the researchers found that only 15.5% of the participants had achieved successful aging status. When the researchers looked at the dietary factors which led to the attainment of successful aging status in this adult population, they came to one very important conclusion.
The consumption of fiber had the largest impact upon the health of this sample population. Those who consumed the most fiber in their respective diets had a reduced chance of experiencing a chronic disease condition and dying prematurely.
According to the study authors….”Essentially, we found that those who had the highest intake of fiber or total fiber actually had an almost 80 percent greater likelihood of living a long and healthy life over a 10-year follow-up. That is, they were less likely to suffer from hypertension, diabetes, dementia, depression, and functional disability.”
On the contrary, the participants who ate less fiber-rich foods and were consistently below the mid-range of consumption of fiber from breads, cereals, and fruit, compared with the rest of the group, were less likely to age successfully.
Of all the dietary factors examined (total carbohydrate, glycemic index, sugar intake and glycemic load) it was total fiber intake that determined how successful a that participants aged.
How you ask?
Fiber, found in vegetabes, nuts, whole grains, legumes and whole fruit can lower cholesterol, blood sugar, triglycerides and blood pressure. It improves digestive function, increases helpful intestinal flora and decreases the incidence of all cancers of the digestive tract and greatly positively influences the incidence of inflammatory bowel disease.
The anti-oxidants in the fiber-rich foods can lower inflammation and keep your blood thinner and less likely to clot. It also causes your insulin to work much more effectively. The combined affects result in a greatly reduced risk of developing cardiovacular disease, arthritis, strokes, diabetes, obesity and cancer.
When you can do this….guess what…you also live a longer life and you live it disease free. This produces more years of disease-free living and improves the quality of your life markedly. Remember…it’s not just how long you live but how many years you live disease-free.
In closing, the authors of this study also commented “these findings suggest that increasing intake of fiber-rich foods could be a successful strategy in reaching old age disease free and fully functional.”
I would simply add that the addition of a high fiber diet (at least 30-40 Gms.) per day is a very important strategy if you want to age successfully…..there is no doubt about this at this point in time!
Dr. Kevin J. McLaughlin
The Vitality Project