Fiber can promote disease-free aging: Study

By: Devon Andre | Health News | Sunday, June 26, 2016 - 10:30 AM

Homemade granola with nutsFiber is important as it promotes regularity, but a new study suggests it can promote disease-free aging, too. For the study, researchers looked at over 1,600 Australian adults. Those who consumed the most fiber were found to be 80 percent more likely to remain fully functional and disease-free throughout aging.

Lead author Bamini Gopinath said, “Our observations need to be confirmed by other large studies, and we can’t make recommendations at this stage such as pushing for a more plant-based diet. … there are numerous studies showing fiber’s protective influence against a host of chronic diseases.”

Successful aging was defined by the continued absence of physical disability, depression, breathing problems, or chronic health issues like high blood pressure or cancer. Gopinath added, “People can achieve the recommended intake of fiber consumption — around 30 grams per day — by eating a wide range of foods such as whole-grain breads and cereals, fruits, vegetables, and legumes.”

The researchers tracked the participants for a decade – the subjects were on average 49 years of age at the start of the study. By the end of the study, the researchers concluded that 15.5 percent successfully aged – those participants also consumed the highest amounts of fiber. Those who consumed the least amount of fiber were found to have worse aging outcomes.

Only 25 percent of participants were found to be taking in the recommended amount of fiber, which the researchers suggest is an accurate representation of the general public.

Top fiber foods include nuts, seeds, beans, avocados, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, oranges, carrots, leafy greens, corn, peas, popcorn, bran cereals, and oatmeal.

The researchers at this stage can’t fully explain how or why fiber promotes disease-free aging, but they suggest it may have to do with a reduction in inflammation, along with the fact that fiber keeps people full reducing their risk of obesity, which is a risk factor for many chronic conditions.

Lona Sandon, an assistant professor of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, added, “Different fibers also provide food for the bacteria in the gut. These bacteria may produce substances that help promote health such as hormones that help regulate appetite and blood sugar.”

The findings were published in the Journals of Gerontology.


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Sources:
http://biomedgerontology.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/05/23/gerona.glw091.abstract


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