Fiber Intake Linked to a Longer Life and Healthier Arteries

July 9, 2012 | Byron J. Richards, Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist

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 Fiber Intake Linked to a Longer Life and Healthier Arteries
The importance of adequate fiber intake as a part of a healthy diet has been driven home by two studies published this month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. One study proves that fiber helps you live longer, and the other shows that consistent fiber consumption over many years is linked to healthier arteries.

The first study involved 452,717 European men and women followed for 12 years, comparing fiber intake to causes of death. Fiber was inversely associated with mortality risk. For each 10 gram increase in dietary fiber intake there was a 10 percent risk reduction in death from all causes. Fiber offered a 39 percent risk reduction for digestion-related mortality, a 23 percent risk reduction for respiratory-related mortality, and a 15 percent risk reduction for inflammatory disease mortality.

A second study of 373 people evaluated their fiber intake over a 24 year period, from ages 13 – 36. At age 36 the participants had their arteries evaluated for stiffness using ultrasonography. Those with stiffer carotid arteries had lower intakes of fiber over the 24 years. This study speaks to the importance of a good diet throughout life and makes the point that a low fiber diet results in measurable adverse decline in the health of arteries at the relatively young age of 36.

Fiber is one of the most lacking components in the Western diet, one of several key nutritional substances that when lacking sets the stage for early disease and a shorter life.

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