Diet and nutrition play an important role in keeping our minds and bodies healthy as we grow older, and that includes making sure we eat plenty of fiber—at least according to a paper published in The Journals of Gerontology.
Using data from a larger study focusing on risk factors associated with healthy aging, researchers in Australia examined the health data for more than 1,600 adults over 50 and determined that eating a diet rich in high-fiber foods supports healthy aging by helping to ward off disease and disability later in life.
“Out of all the variables that we looked at, fiber intake—which is a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest—had the strongest influence,” said lead author Dr. Bamini Gopinath in a news release. Researchers also took into account daily sugar intake, total carbohydrate intake, glycemic index and glycemic load.
Gopinath went on to say that those participants who ate the most fiber on a daily basis were 80 percent more likely to live a long and healthy life and less likely to suffer from hypertension, diabetes, dementia, depression and functional disability. In other words, fiber does a lot more than just help us stay regular.