A high fibre diet has long been tied to preventing constipation, lowering cholesterol, controlling body weight and guarding against type 2 diabetes. Now, Australian researchers have discovered that eating the right amount of fibre from breads, cereals, and fruits can help us avoid disease and disability into old age.
Using data compiled from the Blue Mountains Eye Study, a benchmark population-based study that examined more than 1,600 adults aged 50 years and older, the researchers explored the relationship between carbohydrate nutrition and healthy aging.
They found that out of all the factors they examined -- which included a person's total carbohydrate intake, total fibre intake, glycemic index, glycemic load, and sugar intake -- it was fibre that made the biggest difference to what the researchers termed "successful aging."
Successful aging was defined as including an absence of disability, depressive symptoms, cognitive impairment, respiratory symptoms, and chronic diseases including cancer, coronary artery disease and stroke.
The research team found that those who had the highest intake of fibre had an almost 80 percent greater likelihood of living a long and healthy life over a 10-year follow-up. They were less likely to suffer from hypertension, diabetes, dementia, depression, and functional disability.
The study is the first to look at the relationship between carbohydrate intake and healthy aging, and the results were significant enough to warrant further investigation.
It might have been expected that high sugar intake would make the biggest impact on successful aging, but the study participants were older adults whose intake of carbonated and sugary drinks was quite low.
This study backs up similar recent findings by the researchers, which highlight the importance of the overall diet and healthy aging.
In another study published last year, Australian researchers found that, in general, adults who closely adhered to recommended national dietary guidelines reached old age with an absence of chronic diseases and disability, and had good functional and mental health status.
All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.