New Study Shows the Long-Term Benefits of Increasing Your Fiber Intake
We all know that if we want to live a healthy and long life, we have to live a certain way. This requires adequate sleep each night, balanced meals, exercise, moderation in drinking habits, and quitting smoking. Each of these actions improves our overall health and several studies prove this. Recently, a study came out to give people more insight into how to eat healthily. Typically, fruits, vegetables, and grains are always a good idea because of the different nutrients they contain. One that you can find in all sorts of food is fiber, and this study claims that you will live longer if you increase your fiber intake. In fact, an increased fiber intake brings a variety of health benefits. Keep reading to find out what they are.
Health Benefits of Fiber
Andrew Reynolds, a researcher at the University of Otago in New Zealand, co-authored this study on the health benefits of increasing your fiber intake. Many other researchers that were not involved with the research also give their praise for this study. This is because we already know that fiber is good for us, but this research helps us to see how it affects us in the long run. They analyzed over 180 observational studies and 50 clinical trials, giving them a large group of people to examine over several decades. Overall, the research found that a higher intake of fiber reduced people’s risk of a wide variety of diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and colorectal cancer. More daily fiber also helped people reduce their body weight and cholesterol.
Of all the people in the study, the research shows that those who had a higher fiber intake lived longer and had a reduced risk of disease. Here are some of the specific numbers for you to consider. The research links a fiber-rich diet with the following:
- 22 percent reduced risk of stroke
- 16 percent reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer
- 30 percent risk of death from coronary heart disease
While this is great news that will give many people the motivation to eat better, there are some limitations to the study. For one, the subjects of the study consisted of typically healthy individuals. This means that they did not consider those with pre-existing conditions. Another limitation is that the study focuses on Western civilizations. They do not know if the numbers will remain the same for those that live in less-privileged conditions.
Studies show that most Americans do not consume enough fiber every day. Most people consume between 15 and 17 grams of fiber daily, and that is not enough. Everyone should be consuming 25 to 20 grams of fiber each day, and some dietitians say that men need 38 grams. There are not any health risks that come from eating more fiber than recommended, but it can reduce iron levels in people who are already iron-deficient. However, there are numerous health benefits. Fiber aids in digestion, feeds good gut bacteria, and lowers blood sugar levels.
Thankfully, it is extremely easy to find fiber in the foods you eat every day. Here is a list of foods you can incorporate into your daily meals and how many grams of fiber they contain. The amount of fiber listed depends on if you consume 100 grams of that particular food.
- Raspberries: 6.5 grams
- Pears: 3.1 grams
- Bananas: 2.6 grams
- Artichoke: 8.6 grams
- Split Peas: 8.3 grams
- Carrots and Beets: 2.8 grams
- Chia Seeds: 34.4 grams
- Popcorn: 14.5 grams
- Dark Chocolate: 10.9 grams
- Oats: 10.6 grams
The list can go on and on! For even more fiber-rich foods, check out this list.
You Can Up Your Fiber Intake Easily
It is easy to increase your fiber uptake, especially if you pay attention to the foods you already it. It may come down to simply eating more of those fiber-rich foods and cutting down the less healthy ones. Others may need to redesign some of their favorite meals to incorporate fiber, but it is not difficult. You can up your fiber intake easily and experience the many health benefits that come from it.