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Most Americans Could Benefit from Increasing Their Fiber Intake

Most Americans do not eat enough fiber on a daily basis and a recent study provides further evidence of the negative health effects that can result. According to researchers at the National Cancer Institute, eating more fiber may significantly reduce the risk of death from heart disease, respiratory illness and infectious diseases.

The study was published in the February 2011 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Nearly 400,000 adults between 50 and 71 years of age participated in the study. The participants completed a dietary questionnaire in which they were asked to estimate how often they ate 124 food items. They were then followed for nine years. During that follow-up period 31,000 of the participants died.

Participants who had the highest fiber intake were 22% less likely to die from any cause than those who consumed the lowest amounts.

Much of the prior research surrounding the benefits of fiber has been in relation to its heart health benefits but in this largest of its kind study the researchers found various health benefits beyond heart health.

These additional benefits ranged from lowering cholesterol to preventing pneumonia and flu to reducing the risk of some cancers. The researchers noted that many people miss out on these benefits because they do not eat the recommended 25 grams of fiber daily for women and 38 grams for men.

They also highlighted that while supplements can help you increase your daily fiber intake, the best solution is incorporating more high fiber foods into your diet. Some foods that are high in fiber include dates, beans, oatmeal, apples and broccoli.

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