Fiber Could Be the Secret to Living Longer, New Study Suggests

As if we needed another good reason to eat more plant-based foods, a new study suggests that we can potentially add many healthy years to our lifespans by getting more fiber in our diets. And now couldn’t be more of a perfect time to do this by stocking up on all the fresh fruits and veggies that are finally back in season.

For the study, researchers examined data from over 1,600 adults ages 50 and over to see if there was a link between carbohydrates and healthy aging. By “healthy aging,” this meant aging without developing disability, cognitive impairment, depression, respiratory problems or chronic health conditions like cancer, heart disease and stroke.

When examining carbohydrate nutrition, researchers looked at intake for total carbs, total fiber, glycemic index, glycemic load and sugar. Amazingly, fiber — which is something that the body can’t even digest — was the strongest nutritional variable that seemed to influence healthy aging. In fact, the influence seemed to be so strong that when the adult participants received a follow-up about a decade later, those who had the highest fiber intake were found to be 80 percent more likely to be in good health as they aged.

Just as you might expect, sugar intake had the greatest negative influence on healthy aging. Although the results of the study might seem like good news for anyone with a plant-based diet, this was the first study to look at the link between carbohydrate nutrition and healthy aging, so it doesn’t offer quite a complete picture about how we might be able to adjust our diets to serve our best chances of living longer and healthier just yet.

Regardless of what science has already discovered and has yet to discover, there’s no question that fiber is indeed good for us. A previous, related study conducted by Harvard researchers found that people who chose to eat high-fiber breakfast cereals had reduced their risk of death by 19 percent compared to people who chose breakfasts with less fiber.

According to WebMD, the average American adult only gets about 15 grams of fiber a day — almost less than half of what women should be getting and far less than half of what men should be getting. Women should be shooting for 25 grams of fiber a day while men should be aiming to get 38 grams a day.

Besides the potential benefits related to longevity, fiber is best known for keeping the digestive system running smoothly and helping us stay regular. It also helps us stay full for longer by regulating blood sugar and preventing spikes that lead us to crash later on.

Getting the recommended daily fiber intake is relatively easy to accomplish when you make fruits, veggies and whole grains a part of every meal and snack. Some high-fiber food suggestions include:

  • Lentils (16g per cup, cooked)
  • Black beans (15g per cup, cooked)
  • Figs (15g per cup, dried)
  • Avocados (11g per cup, sliced)
  • Okra (8g per cup)
  • Brussels sprouts (8g per cup)
  • Blackberries (8g per cup)
  • Raspberries (8g per cup)
  • Broccoli, (5g per cup, boiled)
  • Quinoa (5g per cup, cooked)
  • Oatmeal (4g per cup, cooked)

Try to go for the stuff that’s fresh, raw and definitely unprocessed. Several years or decades from now, you may be happy you made a high-fiber diet such a consistent habit!

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Photo Credit: Pixabay

105 comments

Jeramie D
Jeramie D7 months ago

Love all of these foods.

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Jeramie D
Jeramie D10 months ago

I will assume blueberries are also high on fiber. Love all of these things. I love my plant based diet.

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Leanne K.
Leanne K1 years ago

How good is that - strawberries are high in fibre!

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Jeanne Rogers
Jeanne R1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus1 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jim Ven
Jim V1 years ago

thanks for the article.

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Jeramie D.
Jeramie D1 years ago

Just do it

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Linda W.
Linda Wallace1 years ago

Thank you. Fiber does make a big difference.

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Danuta Watola
Danuta W1 years ago

thank you for this article

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Angela K away
Angela AWAY K1 years ago

thanks

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