A large, new analysis helps confirm that eating lots of grains, vegetables and fruit lowers your risk of dying early from cancer or heart disease.
When compared with those who consume very little fibre, people at the high end of the fibre-eating spectrum saw their risk for dying from heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and/or colon cancer plummet by 16 to 24%, investigators reported.
The team also concluded that more is definitely more: For every additional 8 grams of dietary fibre a person consumes, the risk for each of those illnesses was found to fall by another 5 to 27%.
“The health benefits of fibre are supported by over 100 years of research into its chemistry, physical properties, physiology and effects on metabolism,” said study author Andrew Reynolds, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Otago in New Zealand.
“What really surprised us was the range of conditions that higher intakes of dietary fibre seemed to improve,” Reynolds added. “Heart disease, type 2 diabetes and colon cancers are some of the most detrimental diseases of our time.”
The conclusions follow a deep-dive into the results of 185 observational studies conducted over the last four decades, alongside the findings of another 58 clinical trials involving more than 4,600 participants.
Reynolds and his colleagues reported their work, which was commissioned by the World Health Organisation (WHO), published in online edition of The Lancet.
The research team noted that worldwide most people eat less than 20 grams of fibre each day, a figure that dips to just 15 grams per day among Americans.
For examples of foods: 1 slice of whole wheat bread has 2 grams of fibre; 1 cup of boiled broccoli has 5 grams; 1 medium orange has 3 grams, and 1 cup of cooked black beans has 15 grams.
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