High fiber diets help prevent cancer, heart disease


A large new analysis helps confirm that eating lots of grains, vegetables and fruits reduces the risk of premature death from cancer or heart disease.
When compared to those who consume very little fiber, people at the upper end of the fiber intake spectrum saw their risk of dying from heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and / or colon cancer by 16 to 24%, researchers reported .
The team also concluded that more is definitely more: for every additional 8 grams of dietary fiber a person consumes, the risk for each of those illnesses fell from 5 to 27%.
"The health benefits of fiber 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 researcher at the University of Otago, at New Zealand.
"What really surprised us was the range of conditions that increased dietary fiber intake seemed to improve," Reynolds added. "Heart disease, type 2 diabetes and colon cancer are some of the most damaging diseases of our time."
The findings follow a deepening of the results of 185 observational studies conducted over the past four decades, along with results from 58 other clinical trials involving more than 4,600 participants.
Reynolds and her colleagues reported their work, which was commissioned by the World Health Organization (WHO), published in the online edition of The Lancet.
The research team noted that worldwide most people consume less than 20 grams of fiber a day, a figure that drops to just 15 grams a day among Americans.
For food examples: 1 slice of whole grain bread has 2 grams of fiber; 1 cup cooked broccoli has 5 grams; 1 medium orange has 3 grams and 1 cup of cooked black beans has 15 grams.


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