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Cheat Death the 7-a-Day Way

2 Apr

Cheat Death the 7-a-Day Way

If you are what you eat, it looks like 7 servings of fruits and vegetables per day makes you 42% less likely to die than just eating 1 serving per day.

…Or at least so says a new study published this week in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

The study used the Health Study for England data consisting of over 65,000 subjects studied between 2001-2013, and found that vegetables have significantly higher health benefits than fruits.

Compared to eating less than 1 portion of fruits or vegetables per day:

  • Eating 1-3 portions per day cuts risk of death by 14%
  • Eating 3-5 portions per day cuts risk of death by 29%
  • Eating 5-7 portions per day cuts risk of death by 36%
  • Eating >7 portions per day cuts risk of death by 42%

When it comes to types of fruits and vegetables: it’s better to eat your fruit than drink it, as there was no significant benefit from drinking fruit juice.

Fresh is better than canned or frozen, as canned/frozen fruit intake was found to be associated with an increased risk of death of 17% per portion consumed (due to added sugar content.)

Considering that the average portion of fruit or vegetable contains 3-4 grams of fiber per serving, eating 7 portions per day can net you 21-28 grams of fiber, which is nearing 100% of your daily fiber needs.

So go on and cheat death…because when it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables, the more really is the merrier.

 

Breathe Easier: Fiber May Ward Off Asthma

6 Jan

Breathe Easier: Fiber May Ward Off Asthma

It has long been known that a high fiber diet has heart and gut health benefits. Fiber may also be protective against certain types of cancer and promotes a healthy weight.

But a new study published this week in the journal Nature Medicine shows promise that soluble fiber may also be protective against asthma.

In this particular animal study, two groups of mice were fed either a high soluble fiber diet or a low soluble fiber diet, and then exposed to dust mites, a leading cause of allergic asthma which is characterized by inflammation in the lungs.

The high soluble fiber mice group showed lower levels of the immune cells that are usually elevated in asthma. The low soluble fiber mice group experienced strong allergic reactions to the dust mites.

It is thought that the fiber in our diet may have the potential to beneficially alter the bacterial distribution in our gut, which in turn influences how immune cells develop and function.

While there are certainly other genetic and environmental factors that contribute to the development of asthma, having a high fiber diet does at least appear to be somewhat protective in the development of certain types of asthma.

 

Fiber is Big Business

3 Jan

Fiber is Big Business

You can’t put a price tag on your health. But there’s no denying it: fiber is big business.

A 272-page research report now out attempts to put a price tag on dietary fiber…and a hefty one at that.

Dietary Fiber Market by Product Type – Global Trends & Forecasts up to 2017” estimates that the global dietary fiber market will be worth $3.25 billion by 2017.

Report highlights include:

  • Major drivers of fiber intake are an aging population, increasing consumption rates of supplemental fiber, and growing consumer knowledge about the health benefits of fiber
  • North America holds the majority of market share in dietary fiber, about 36% of the global market
  • Although food applications dominate the market currently, the supplement arena (and in particular, soluble fibers) are expected to be the fastest growing segment moving forward

If you’ve got $4,650 to blow on a dietary fiber report, you can order it here…and let me know what else you find out if you do!

Chalk Another One Up for Fiber

26 Dec

Chalk Another One Up for Fiber

It might not sound like a lot – but a bump in your fiber intake of as little as 7 grams per day is linked to lower rates of heart disease.

A meta-analysis recently published in the British Medical Journal looked at data from 22 observational studies conducted since 1990. The research studies were at least 3 years in length, and most were conducted in the US and Europe, with a few from Japan and Australia.

Researchers found that an additional 7 grams of fiber per day was protective against coronary heart disease (a risk ratio of 0.91) and cardiovascular disease (same risk ratio of 0.91).

While it’s well-established that soluble fibers – with their gel-forming properties – help reduce the amount of circulating cholesterol levels, the best news from this study is how easy it really is for the average person to eat 7 more grams of fiber.

How can you bump up your fiber by 7 grams per day?

Here are 7 ways to get 7 extra grams of fiber per day:

  • A 3/4 cup serving of lentil soup contains 7 grams of fiber
  • 1 large Bosc pear has 7 grams of fiber
  • A sandwich made with 2 slices of 100% whole wheat bread & 1/4 cup sprouts has 7 grams of fiber
  • 1 cup of shelled edamame (soy beans) has 7 grams of fiber
  • 1 cup of raw blackberries has 7 grams of fiber
  • 1 1/4 cup cooked quinoa has 7 grams of fiber
  • 1 medium sized globe or french artichoke has 7 grams of fiber

Fiber Report Card: We’re Failing

11 Nov

Fiber Report Card: We’re Failing

A sizable study recently showed just how little fiber Americans are eating…and just how bad that might be for us.

Dr. Cheryl R. Clark of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School recently analyzed national-level consumption data from 1999-2010.

In her report, published in the American Journal of Medicine, Dr. Clark found that on average, Americans eat just 16.2 grams of dietary fiber per day across all demographic groups.

Additionally, the groups that had the lowest fiber intakes were also those that had the highest likelihood of inflammation, obesity, and metabolic syndrome (a cluster of risk factors that increases risk for other chronic diseases).

So, just how little is 16.2 grams of fiber per day?

Well, consider that the Institute of Medicine recommends:

  • 38 grams per day for men age 19-50
  • 25 grams per day for women age 19-50
  • 30 grams per day for men age 51+
  • 21 grams per day for women age 51+

A more simplified recommendation is that most adults should aim to get at least 30 grams of fiber per day.

Considering that most people eat just half of this recommended amount, as a nation, our fiber report card reports a big fat “F”.