Dietary fiber intake contributes to healthy aging

We know that aging is un-avoidable. Since immorality is still a myth, many settle with a successful aging strategy. Successful aging is defined as aging with youth like vitality, an absence of disability, depressive symptoms, cognitive impairment, respiratory symptoms, and chronic diseases including cancer, coronary artery disease, and stroke.

According to a study published in The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences by scientists from The Westmead Institute for Medical Research, a diet high in fiber should be an essential part of a healthy aging strategy because eating the right amount of fiber can help avoid disease and disability into old age. 1

Using data compiled from the Blue Mountains Eye Study, a benchmark population-based study that examined more than 1,600 adults aged 50 years and older for long-term sensory loss risk factors and systemic diseases, the researchers explored the relationship between carbohydrate nutrition and healthy aging. They found that out of all the factors they examined — which included a person’s total carbohydrate intake, total fiber intake, glycemic index, glycemic load, and sugar intake — it was the fiber, a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest, that made the biggest difference to healthy aging. Essentially, the researchers found that, over a 10-year follow-up, those who had the highest intake of fiber or total fiber had an almost 80 percent greater likelihood of living a long and healthy life including less incidences of hypertension, diabetes, dementia, depression, and functional disability.

This study backs up similar recent findings by the researchers, which highlight the importance of the overall diet and healthy aging. In another study published 2016 in The Journals of Gerontology, Westmead Institute researchers found that, in general, adults who closely adhered to recommended national dietary guidelines reached old age with an absence of chronic diseases and disability, and had good functional and mental health status.2

Therefore, these research findings suggest that increasing intake of fiber-rich foods could be a successful strategy in reaching old age disease free and fully functional. According to the Institute of Medicine, adequate intake levels for fiber are 38 grams per day for men ages 19 to 50 and 30 grams of fiber each day for men ages 50 and older; and adequate fiber intake levels are 25 grams per day for women ages 19 to 50 and 21 grams of fiber per day for those ages 50 and older. High-fiber foods include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds – which should be part of your diet.

Thanks for reading.

Journal Reference:

  1. Bamini Gopinath et al. Association Between Carbohydrate Nutrition and Successful Aging Over 10 YearsThe Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 2016; 71(10): 1335-1340.
  2. Bamini Gopinath et al. Adherence to Dietary Guidelines and Successful Aging Over 10 Years. The Journals of Gerontology, Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 2016; 71(3): 349-355.

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