Study: Eating Fiber Could Make You Live Longer

A new government study has found a link between high-fiber diets and lower risks of dying–not just from heart disease (which was previously known) but from infectious and respiratory illnesses as well.

The average American eats about 15 grams of fiber a day, while current recommendations are for women to get 25 grams. In the study those who ate higher amounts of fiber were 22 percent less likely to die than those who ate the lowest amounts.

Although fiber is found in fruits, vegetables and beans, the strongest ties to the study were found in fiber from grains. The vitamins and minerals found in the grains may also be beneficial, which is why scientists say eating the actual food is better than taking a fiber supplement.

Why does fiber work so well? Scientists believe it improves cholesterol levels, blood pressure, blood sugar levels and inflammation. It’s believed that fiber is able to bind to toxins and move them out of the body quicker. Fiber also makes people feel full–which is why it’s sometimes recommended to aid in weight loss.

Want a diet high in fiber? To meet the 25-gram guideline consider eating:

One-third of a cup of bran cereal for breakfast (9 grams)

One half cup of cooked beans as a side dish (10 grams)

A small apple as an afternoon snack (4 grams)

One half cup of mixed vegetables as a side dish (4 grams)

Other high-fiber options include snacking on almonds throughout the day (23 almonds, 4 grams), a baked potato (3 grams) or a bran muffin (3 grams).

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