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Fiber Consumption May Lower Death Risk from Range of Diseases

A National Cancer Institute analysis of data from the National Institute for Health-AARP Diet and Health Study shows that consuming dietary fiber greatly reduces the risk of dying from cardiovascular, infectious, and respiratory diseases.

The study was published online ahead of print on February 14, 2011 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Researchers examined the food frequency questionnaire responses of 219,193 men and 168,999 women. The study lasted for 9 years, during which time 20,126 deaths in men and 11,330 deaths in women occurred.

The researchers determined that individuals who consumed between 25 and 30 grams of fiber per day had an average 22% lower risk of death from the entire range of diseases. They also found that consumption of dietary fiber derived from grains resulted in the biggest reductions.

The anti-inflammatory properties of fiber are believed to be the mechanism behind this reduction is disease risk. Inflammation occurs in cardiovascular, infectious and respiratory diseases and speeds up the progression of disease.

Fiber has also been associated with lowering cholesterol, preventing flu and pneumonia and reduction in the risk of some cancers.

Many Americans only consume approximately 50% of the recommended 25 to 30 grams daily. To get more fiber into your diet, concentrate on whole grain cereals, dates, breads, and pastas. Fruit is also a good source of dietary fiber, as are high quality supplements.

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