Eating more high fibre foods is linked to a longer life, new research finds.
However, it has to be from unprocessed foods.
Dietary fibres are indigestible carbohydrates as our body can’t break them down into sugar.
Fibre helps the body to keep blood sugar in control and makes you feel full for longer.
Consuming 35 g of fibre a day will reduce the risk of early death by more than a third.
Experts say that high fibre intake increases life expectancy, improves blood sugar levels, and causes weight loss, however, processed foods won’t have these beneficial effects.
One study found that consuming 35 g of fibre per day will lower the likelihood of early death by 35 percent compared with those who have only 19 g of fibre a day.
Fibre-rich foods include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts.
Dr Andrew Reynolds, the study’s lead author, said:
“Try a few different ways to increase your fiber intake, see what works best for you.
If you eat white refined bread or rolls, try changing to wholegrain bread or rolls.
Try brown rice, try brown pasta, try adding half a tin of legumes to meals you already make.”
In this study, adults with prediabetes who consumed foods rich in fibre had lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels as well as losing weight.
Another study has shown that not all foods with fibre are equal.
For example, whole grains are rich in fibre but their beneficial health effects will weaken with processing.
Participants were asked to eat unprocessed or less-processed wholegrain foods like brown rice, intact oats, and whole-grain bread made with coarsely ground flour for two weeks.
In the second fortnight, they ate more processed wholegrain foods like wholemeal bread and instant oats and whole-grain bread made with finely milled flour.
Professor Jim Mann, the study’s senior author, said:
“Wholegrain foods are now widely perceived to be beneficial, but increasingly products available on the supermarket shelves are ultra-processed.”
Eating minimally-processed wholegrain foods showed that participants after their meals had much improved blood sugar levels and during the day they had less swings in blood glucose levels.
During the study period they were asked to maintain their weight but the results showed that they lost a little weight in the first fortnight of consuming less processed whole grains and put on a little weight in the second two weeks of having processed whole grain foods.