If you’ve been listening to doctors and health professionals, then there’s no doubt you’ve learned dietary fiber is one of the most important nutrients needed for good health.
Truth is, dietary fiber has been associated with numerous health benefits.
A few examples to consider:
Dietary fiber is absolutely necessary for a healthy gut,as it helps to pass food through the digestive tract while also aiding the intestines as they extract nutrients from food.
Fiber also helps improve heart health, as it’s believed dietary fiber bonds with LDL (bad) cholesterol, and then prevents it from absorbing into the body where it can cause problems for the heart and blood pressure later on.
Those are just a few ways dietary fiber helps improve health.
With that all being said, it wouldn’t be a stretch to to think fiber would help you live a better, longer life.
That’s actually what a new study on the effects of dietary fiber seems to have concluded.
Researchers at the Westmead Institute in New South Wales, Australia published their findings in The Journal of Gerontology.
They discovered those who ate high amounts of fiber were able to “age successfully.”
According to the researchers, successful aging means “reaching old age disease-free and fully functional – that is, with ‘absence of disability, depressive symptoms, cognitive impairment, respiratory symptoms, and chronic diseases (e.g: cancer and coronary artery disease).’”
So how did they determine this?
The researchers accessed a report known as the Blue Mountain Eye Study (BMES) and used its data to determine how fiber helped improve health.
The data they accessed was centered on 1,609 adults who were over the age of 49 years old and who hadn’t had conditions like stroke, coronary heart disease, and cancer (among others) when the study started.
They followed these individuals for 10 years and then made their conclusions on fiber’s role in their health after analyzing food-frequency surveys the subjects filled out.
When they took a look at all the data, they discovered that, after 10 years, those who ate the highest amounts of fiber were the ones who managed to age most successfully. This was approximately 15.5 % or 249 of the participants surveyed.
The crazy thing is, according to the researchers, fiber was the most important dietary factor they observed.
Lead author Bamini Gopinath wrote, “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.”
Gopinath and her colleagues made the note that the participants who didn’t get enough fiber were the ones who experienced onsets of conditions detrimental to good health.
“These findings suggest that increasing intake of fiber-rich foods could be a successful strategy in reaching old age disease-free and fully functional.”
All in all, another very good reason to get all the fiber you can in your diet today!