Dietary fiber scored another health victory when researchers at the National Cancer Institute determined that it may reduce the risk of death from any cause. Past scientific triumphs of this indigestible component of plant foods include: less diabetes, less gastrointestinal disease, less obesity, less inflammation and lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels. This study included over 370,000 older adults followed over a 9-year period of time. Investigators found that men and women with the highest fiber intakes were 22% less likely to die of any cause and up to 56% less likely to develop respiratory, cardiovascular or infectious diseases (Archives of Internal Medicine, Online Feb 2011). The men and women in this study consuming the most fiber took in 29.4 grams and 25.8 grams, respectively, each day. The current average American daily intake of fiber is about ½ this level.
I urge you to work toward including as much dietary fiber in your diet as possible. Aim for 28 or more grams a day. At this point there is no evidence that fiber supplements or fiber added to processed foods has a disease-protective effect. Rely on whole, REAL plant foods to take full advantage of fiber’s many benefits. Here is my best advice for success.