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Fiber May Be a Key to Healthy Aging

Not only has research found that dietary fiber may help you live longer, one study has found that it could contribute to healthier aging—making that longer life more enjoyable! Published in the Journals of Gerontology, the study included 1,609 people aged 49 and older, who hadn’t had cancer, coronary artery disease, or a stroke. Over the course of ten years, researchers collected dietary data on the participants via food frequency questionnaires, which included questions regarding the glycemic index and glycemic load of the participants' diets, as well as about their carbohydrate, sugar, and fiber intake. During the same period, researchers interviewed each participant to determine their “successful aging status,” defined as the absence of disability, depressive symptoms, cognitive impairment, respiratory symptoms, and chronic diseases. At the end of the ten-year study, researchers discovered that:

  • A total of 249 (15.5%) participants had achieved successful aging status.
  • Eating more fiber was linked to a better chance of healthy aging: participants with the highest dietary fiber intake had a nearly 80% greater chance of successful aging than those with the lowest fiber intake.
  • The specific high-fiber foods associated with successful aging were breads, cereals, and fruits.
  • Those who ate more fiber, as well as lower glycemic index foods, were also less likely to die during the 10-year study period.

These findings suggest that eating more fiber could help disease-free adults stay healthy while they age. And it’s really no surprise—fiber has a long track record of health benefits including better weight management and blood sugar control, and a reduced risk of stroke. So, if you’re ready to get your fiber fill, stock up on these good sources: whole grains, oats, barley, beans, most fruits (but not fruit juice), nuts and seeds, and vegetables like broccoli, carrots, spinach, and sweet potatoes.

Source: Journals of Gerontology

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