A very interesting study was just published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine documenting the association between high dietary fiber intake and lower risk of dying from some of the most common killers—heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. This was a huge study with over 388,000 participants aged 50 to 71.

The nine-year study looked at dietary fiber intake and found men’s intake ranged from 13 to 29 grams per day, and women’s fiber intake from 11 to 26 grams per day. Over a nine-year period, those who had the highest intake of fiber (29.4 grams in men and 25.8 grams in women) had a 22 percent lower risk of dying from certain diseases than those participants who consumed the lowest levels of fiber. Subjects with the highest daily intake of fiber were at lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and infectious and respiratory disease compared with the lower fiber intake group.

Researchers noted that fiber “has been hypothesized to lower the risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, obesity, and premature death because it is known to:

  • Improve laxation by increasing bulk and reducing transit time of feces through the bowel;
  • Increase excretion of bile acid, estrogen, and fecal procarcinogens and carcinogens by binding to them;
  • Lower serum cholesterol levels;
  • Slow glucose absorption and improve insulin sensitivity;
  • Lower blood pressure;
  • Promote weight loss;
  • Inhibit lipid peroxidation; and
  • Have anti-inflammatory properties.”

I recommend at least 35 grams of fiber daily for those very reasons noted above. High daily intake of fiber has so many health benefits. Unfortunately, however, the average American only consumes between 10 and 15 grams daily— and that’s not nearly enough.

It can be difficult to obtain 35 grams of fiber from the diet, so fiber supplements are a great way to increase fiber intake. In addition, consuming plenty of whole grains, fruits and vegetables (and fewer bad fats, refined grains and sugars) will help to boost your daily fiber intake.