Eat your fiber, you have likely been told by well-meaning friends, health magazines, or possibly even your doctor (and definitely by me). While it may seem like obvious advice given the plethora of health benefits associated with increased fiber intake, only five percent of Americans are actually eating the recommended amount. That’s a terrible shame in my opinion. Fiber is one of the most important nutrients that you are not getting enough of.
In a recent study published in the British Medical Journal, people who ate the highest amount of fiber after surviving a heart attack had a 25 percent greater chance of living longer than those who ate the least amount of fiber. Every 10 gram increase of fiber intake resulted in a 15 percent decreased risk of dying during the follow-up period of about nine years.
The researchers looked at data from two US studies—one with over 121,000 female nurses and the other with over 51,000 male professionals. Of these individuals, almost 4,100 experienced and survived a heart attack. “Future research on lifestyle changes post-[heart attack] should focus on a combination of lifestyle changes and how they may further reduce mortality rates beyond what is achievable by medical management alone,” noted the researchers. Increasing fiber intake should play a big part in heart-healthy lifestyle changes.
This is not the first study on fiber’s longevity benefits that I have blogged on. Three years ago I wrote about the many life-lengthening benefits of fiber. That’s not all. Fiber also helps relieve heartburn, reduces appetite, and when taken in conjunction with exercise, reduces belly fat. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. I wrote about many of fiber’s benefits in my book Fiber35 Diet. I recommend that you eat at least 35 grams of fiber daily. If you can’t eat that much from diet alone (it can be difficult), then take a fiber supplement to help you reach your goal.