Eating More Fiber May Help To Prevent Diseases

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Advice from nutrition experts and the latest national dietary guidelines suggest that if you want to eat something for better health, the choice should be fiber. 

Recently the Lancet published a large review of 243 studies on fiber that demonstrated how beneficial fiber can be, and the nutrient helps to substantially lower the risk of at least 4 diseases, many of which do not even directly relate to the gut.

According to the report compared to those who ate less fiber those who ate more lowered their risk of heart disease, stroke, colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, as well as the risk of dying early from any cause by 15-30%. The more dietary fibre consumed the lower their risk, for each additional 8 grams the risk of heart disease, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes decreased from 5-27%. Those consuming 25-29 grams of fibre from food, not from supplements or powders,  showed the strongest reductions in the risk of a range of diseases, and those consuming more tended to show even lower risk. 

Our research indicates that people should have at least 25-29 grams of fiber from foods per day,” says Andrew Reynolds, lead author of the study and a researcher at the University of Otago in New Zealand. “Currently, most people consume less than 20 grams of fiber per day, so being more conscious about choosing high-fiber food options will help reach that target.”

The benefits of consuming fibre do not come as a surprise, but the data show help experts determine how much fibre a person needs to eat in order to experience the most benefits. According to the latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans women should eat around 25 grams of fibre per day and men should eat around 38 grams a day. The American Heart Association recommends that adults should consume 25-30 grams of fibre per day in their diet, however, the average American only eats around 15 grams per day. 

Numerous studies indicate possible reasons as to why fibre has beneficial effects on disease ranging from certain cancers, obesity, and heart disease. For example, fibre-rich foods are typically heavier and require more time chewing which increases satiety and possibly lowers the risk of obesity; fibre also takes longer to digest and stimulates beneficial bacteria in the gut improving digestion and reducing the risk of certain cancers.

To boost the amount of fibre in your diet try to base your meals and snacks in include more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and beans, for best results try to get fibre from a range of whole food sources, organic if possible. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, 1 cup of raspberries contains 8 grams of fibre, one medium pear contains 5.5 grams of fibre, one medium apple contains 4.5 grams of fibre, one cup of boiled green peas contains 9 grams of fibre, one cup of boiled broccoli contains 5 grams of fibre, one cup of boiled turnip contains 5 grams of fibre, one cup of cooked whole-wheat spaghetti contains 6 grams of fibre, one cup of cooked pearled barley contains 6 grams of fibre, one cup of quinoa contains 5 grams of fibre, one cup of boiled split peas contains 16 grams of fibre, one cup of boiled lentils contains 15.5 grams of fibre, one ounce of chia seeds contains 10 grams of fibre, one ounce of almonds contains 3.5 grams of fibre, one ounce of pistachios contains 3 grams of fibre, and one ounce of sunflower seeds contains 3 grams of fibre.  



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