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I’ve written about fiber a zillion times and, I admit, fiber’s not the sexiest nutrient. Even the terms used to describe it–roughage, nature’s broom and bulk—are utterly unappealing. That aside, eating a fiber-rich diet is one of the best things you can do to look and feel your best and it might even add years to your life.

According to new research reported recently in the Archives of Internal Medicine, a high-fiber diet was found to help prevent death. While this is not the first study to show that eating a diet rich in fiber-filled foods helped subjects’ cheat death, it was one of the biggest human studies of the nature to be published.

Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) tracked diet and death records of more than 219,000 older adults for a period of nine years. They found that those who had the most fiber (26 grams for women; 29 for men) reduced their risk of death (from all causes) by 22 percent compared to those who had the least fiber (11 grams women; 13 for men).
Death from heart disease was reduced death by up to 59 percent among those eating the most fiber. Similar reductions in risk were also found for cancer (men only), respiratory disease and infections.

Current fiber intake is about 15 grams per day for most US adults, and 95% of us fail to meet daily fiber recommendations of 14 grams/1,000 calories or 28-35 grams per day. The fiber that was found to be most protective in this study was grain-based fiber, which is the easiest to get more of in your diet, because whole grain-based foods can be very fiber-rich compared to many fruits and vegetables.

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