Food & Beverage Perspectives
Dietary Fiber’s Role in Healthy Aging

Dietary Fibers Role in Healthy Aging

<p>Fibers offer an array of health benefits, including improved digestive health, support for weight management, improved satiety, and prebiotic benefits to support a healthy gut, underlining the importance of adequate intake. In fact a new study published in The Journals of Gerontology found eating the right amount of dietary fiber from breads, cereals and fruits may protect against disease and disability as we age.</p>

Americans are deficient in their daily intake of fiber, averaging 16 g/d, which is far below the FDA’s established daily reference value of 25 g/d. Fibers offer an array of health benefits, including improved digestive health, support for weight management, improved satiety, and prebiotic benefits to support a healthy gut, underlining the importance of adequate intake.

In fact a new study published in The Journals of Gerontology found eating the right amount of dietary fiber from breads, cereals and fruits may protect against disease and disability as we age.

For the study, researchers in Australia prospectively examined the relationship between dietary glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL), carbohydrate, sugars, and fiber intake (including fruits, vegetable of breads/cereals fiber) with successful aging (determined through a multi-domain approach).

A total of 1,609 adults aged 49 years and older who were free of cancer, coronary artery disease, and stroke at baseline were followed for 10 years. Dietary data were collected using a semi-quantitative Food Frequency Questionnaire. Successful aging status was determined through interviewer-administered questionnaire at each visit and was defined as the absence of disability, depressive symptoms, cognitive impairment, respiratory symptoms, and chronic diseases such as cancer and coronary artery disease.

Researchers found 15.5 percent of participants had aged successfully 10 years later. Total fiber intake made the biggest difference in “successful aging" while dietary glycemic index, glycemic load and carbohydrate intake were not significantly associated with successful aging.

“Essentially, we found that those who had the highest intake of fiber or total fiber actually had an almost 80 percent greater likelihood of living a long and healthy life over a 10-year follow-up," said lead researcher Bamini Gopinath, associate professor at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research’s Center for Vision Research in Australia. “That is, they were less likely to suffer from hypertension, diabetes, dementia, depression, and functional disability."

The researchers concluded the consumption of dietary fiber from breads/cereals and fruits independently influenced the likelihood of aging successfully over 10 years. These findings suggest that increasing intake of fiber-rich foods could be a successful strategy in reaching old age disease free and fully functional.

To read more about the research supporting fiber ingredients, as well as advice on formulating with fiber, download INSIDER’s “Fortifying with Fiber" Digital Pulse. Looking for more on fiber ingredients? Visit the SupplySide & Vitafoods Global Storefronts to search ingredients, solutions, resources and more.

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