A new study in the Lancet has concluded that a high fiber diet is good for your health. Sometimes medical research texts can be cumbersome, so this article from the CNN in popular language translates the facts into simpler terms. Essentially this fiber study was a metaanalysis of many other studies, namely 185 prospective studies and 58 clinical trials with 4635 adult participants. There was a decrease of mortality between 15 to 30% of heart attacks, strokes, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer. The data was gathered by comparing the mortality of persons with the highest fiber intake to the mortality of persons with the lowest fiber intake. There was also a significantly lower bodyweight, systolic blood pressure, and total cholesterol in the persons who consumed more fiber.
How much fiber should we eat?
In the US and many other civilized countries the average fiber intake per day is only 15 grams. The above mentioned risk reduction was observed in people who consumed 25 to 29 grams of fiber per day or even more.
In the CNN article mentioned there is an interesting compilation of fiber content of various foods.
High fiber content
Cooked lentils, ½ cup contains 8 grams of fiber. ½ cup of Lima beans contains 7 grams of fiber. Navy and kidney beans (1/2 cup each) provide 6 grams of fiber, so does ½ cup of cooked pigeon beans. A ¼ cup of wheat bran contains 6 grams of fiber as well.
Medium fiber content
There are 5 grams of fiber in a fresh, large pear. 1 fresh, medium apple provides 4 grams of fiber. 1 cup of fresh strawberries or blueberries contains 4 grams of fiber. ½ cup of cooked parsnips or green peas will give you 4 grams of fiber.
Low fiber content
½ cup of the following cooked vegetables contains 3 grams of fiber each: carrots, Brussels sprouts, spinach and winter squash. 1 fresh medium banana or medium orange contains 3 grams of fiber. 1 slice of multigrain bread provides 2 grams of fiber.
Brian Power, a lecturer in nutrition at University College London, said the analysis is “very robust” and “powerful.” He added: “Any increase in dietary fiber has health benefits and it takes only small changes in diet to achieve a health benefit. A person could add 8 grams of fiber to their diet with a breakfast of bran flakes, four dried apricots and a handful of almonds.”
A new meta-analysis has reconfirmed the importance of high fiber content in our meals. Consumption of 25 to 29 grams of fiber or more had significant health benefits. It reduced heart attacks by 30%, strokes by 22% as well as diabetes and colorectal cancer by 16%. However, most Americans consume only 15 grams of fiber per day. I have listed high fiber, medium fiber and low fiber foods that are easy to integrate into your diet. This way you easily achieve or exceed 30 grams of fiber per day. We need to incorporate the findings of medical research into our day-to-day lifestyle to stay healthy!