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Dietary fiber cuts premature death risk

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A new study in the June 2011 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine suggests eating lots of dietary fiber can prevent death from a range of health conditions including cardiovascular disease, infections, respiratory disease.

Fiber, which can be soluble or insoluble. is found in plant foods.  
Fiber is known to be good for blood cholesterol, blood glucose, blood pressure, obesity prevention, inflammation, regularity, and cancer prevention.

For the study, Yikyung Park, Sc.D., of the National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Md., and colleagues surveyed 219,123 men and 168,999 women for their dietary habits and followed them for nine years during which 20,126 men and 11,330 women died.

The researchers found men and women who had intake of 29.4 grams and 25.8 grams of fiber per day were at 22 percent less likely to die than those who ate 12.6 grams and 10.8 grams per day respectively.

High intakes of fiber were associated with 24 to 56 percent reduction in cardiovascular, infectious and respiratory diseases in men and 34 to 59 percent in women.  The association was found with dietary fiber from grains, but not from other sources like fruits.

"The current Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend choosing fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains frequently and consuming 14 grams per 1,000 calories of dietary fiber," the authors concluded. "A diet rich in dietary fiber from whole plant foods may provide significant health benefits."

David Liu and editing by Aimee Keenan-Greene

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