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Healthcare Tips for Chapel Hill: Dietary Fiber Intake is Linked to Successful Aging

July 26, 2016

Scientists from the Westmead Institute for Medical Research have recently found that increasing healthy dietary fiber is linked to successful aging and healthcare. The research team examined carbohydrate intake of the patients in the study which included total fiber intake, glycemic index, glycemic load, and sugar intake. It was revealed that fiber made the largest difference to what the researchers regarded as successful aging. Successful aging was defined as living with absence of disability, depressive symptoms, cognitive impairment, respiratory symptoms and chronic diseases which included cancer, coronary artery disease and stroke.

Eating the right amount of fiber from breads, cereals and fruits can help us to avoid disease and disability into old age. Dietary fiber is known as roughage or bulk and includes plant foods your body can’t digest. Fiber is not digested by your body, but passes through your stomach, small intestine and colon and out of your body. Fiber is commonly classified as soluble, dissolving in water, and insoluble, not dissolving in water. Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels. Soluble fiber is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium. Insoluble fiber promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans and vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans and potatoes, are good sources of insoluble fiber. A high fiber diet offers normal bowel movements and bowel health, lowers cholesterol, helps control blood sugar and aids in achieving a healthy weight.

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