Fibre rich diets can help you live longer: Study

Fibre rich diets can help you live longer: Study

Diets rich in fibre are already linked to multiple health benefits, including preventing gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Now, the new study, published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, found that eating lots of dietary fibre reduces a person's risk of dying from heart disease, infections, and respiratory diseases.

"Prior studies have focused on the relationship between fibre intake and cardiovascular disease, but few have examined the link between dietary fibre and mortality," study author Yikyung Park, of the National Cancer Institute in the US, was quoted as saying by online medical journal WebMed.

"Our analysis adds to the literature and suggests that dietary fibre is associated with a decreased likelihood of death." For the study, Park and colleagues used data from a large observational study, involving 219,123 men and 168,999 women aged between 50 and 71 years.

The participants completed a food frequency questionnaire in 1995 and 1996 that included questions like what they ate and how often they ate fibre. During nine-year follow-up, 20,126 men and 11,330 women died and on average, men ate 13 to 29 grams of fibre daily, while women ate 11 to 26 grams.

The researchers found that the participants who ate the most dietary fibre (29.4 grams per day for men and 25.8 grams for women) were 22 per cent less likely to die from any disease compared to those who ate the least amount of fibre. Overall, the risk of death from infectious, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases was reduced by 24 per cent to 56 per cent in men and by 34 per cent to 59 per cent in women who consumed the highest amounts of fibre.

The researchers also found that people who had the most fibre tended to be physically active, have a lower BMI, higher education and a self-rated health status of good-excellent. They are also less likely to smoke, drink alcohol or eat red meat, the researchers found.

"The findings remained robust when we corrected for dietary intake measurement error using calibration study data; in fact, the association was even stronger with measurement error correction," the authors wrote. "The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend choosing fibre-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains frequently and consuming 14 grams per 1,000 calories of dietary fibre," they concluded. 

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