Eating more fibre-rich foods, like fruits and vegetables, could decrease the risk of heart disease by 30%, new research concludes.
Higher fibre intake has also been linked to weight loss and lower cholesterol levels.
Studies conducted over almost 40 years find that eating around 25-29 grams of dietary fibre a day has clear health benefits.
Most people, though, consume less than 20 grams per day.
In the US, the average intake is 15 grams per day.
Fibre-rich foods reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, (15-30%), heart disease, stroke type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer (15-24%)
Fibre-rich foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains and pulses.
Professor Jim Mann, study co-author, said:
“Our findings provide convincing evidence for nutrition guidelines to focus on increasing dietary fibre and on replacing refined grains with whole grains.
This reduces incidence risk and mortality from a broad range of important diseases.”
The study included data from 135 million people in almost two hundred different studies.
The results clearly showed that the more dietary fibre people consumed, the more they were protected against a wide variety of diseases.
Professor Mann said:
“The health benefits of fibre are supported by over 100 years of research into its chemistry, physical properties, physiology and effects on metabolism.
Fibre-rich whole foods that require chewing and retain much of their structure in the gut increase satiety and help weight control and can favourably influence lipid and glucose levels.
The breakdown of fibre in the large bowel by the resident bacteria has additional wide-ranging effects including protection from colorectal cancer.”
The study was published in the journal The Lancet (Reynolds et al., 2019).