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dietary fiber

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Early High-fiber Diets Reduce Breast Cancer Risk Later

Healthy eating early in life may protect against later breast cancer.

Adolescent girls and young women who consumed a healthier diet had less breast cancer as they aged. Researchers found those who ate the highest amounts of dietary fiber had a 25% lower risk when compared with those who ate the lowest amounts. Both insoluble and soluble fiber consumption were beneficial. For each 10 gram increase in daily fiber intake the risk fell by 13%!

PositiveTip: Young women should eat plenty of fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

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Fruits, Vegetables and Whole Grains Good for the Gut

Sticking to a Mediterranean-type diet benefits the gut.

Italian scientists found when 153 adult volunteers adhered to a diet high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains they had higher levels of certain gut microbes and microbial metabolites. These gut constituents are recognized to protect against inflammatory diseases and colon cancer. This diet was high in fiber, but simply taking a fiber supplement will not have the same beneficial effects. Choosing real, whole foods provides the benefits.

PositiveTip: Consume a diet with an abundance of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

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Cardiovascular Risk Reduced by Dietary Fiber

Each 7-gram increase in dietary fiber significantly lowers risk for heart disease.

High dietary fiber intakes have been associated with lower risks for coronary heart disease (CHD). A meta-analysis of 22 observational cohort studies found that every increase of 7-grams in total dietary fiber (amount in 1 cup bran flakes, 2 fresh apples, or 1 cup of raw peas) reduced the risk of CHD and cardiovascular disease events by 10%. Findings were also similar for soluble, insoluble, vegetable, cereal, and fruit fibers. 

PositiveTip: Consuming fiber rich foods may indeed keep the doctor away!

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Dietary Fiber Still Beneficial

Cardiovascular risk lowered by increasing dietary fiber intake.

A meta-analysis of 22 cohort studies mostly in Westernized countries reaffirmed dietary fiber's role in preventing cardiovascular disease. For each 7 grams a day of fiber (read food labels), the risk ratio dropped 0.9 points. Only insoluble fibers fibers contributed to this benefit.

PositiveTip: Consume wheat bran, brown rice, and other whole grains to lower your risk of heart disease.

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Dietary Fiber and Stroke Risk

Higher fiber intakes associated with lower stroke risk.

British researchers report you can lower your risk of stroke by 7% for each additional 7 grams of daily fiber consumed. This data comes from a meta-analysis of 8 prospective studies. This is equivalent to the amount of fiber found in a single serving of beans or 1 large apple. Few individuals actually eat the recommended 25+ grams of fiber. It is possible that fiber is a marker for other healthy activities like exercise or not smoking.

PositiveTip: Choose more fiber rich foods each day in your diet.

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High-Protein, Low-Carbohydrate Diets Reduce Prime Fuel in Colon Cells

High-protein, low-carb diets reduce the production of prime fuel needed for healthy colon cells.

Butyrate is a prime fuel for colon cells. Recent research shows that high protein-low carbohydrate weight loss diets substantially reduce bacterial populations that produce butyrate. In this study, butyrate production in the colon dropped by more than 75% in people on these diets. The end result is that low carb diets can lead to poor colon health and a greater risk of colon cancer. 

PositiveTip: Unrefined carbohydrates in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables provide the major nutrients your body needs, aid in weight loss, and promote colon health.

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Fruit Fiber and Pancreatic Cancer

Pancreatic cancer risk is lower in those consuming generous amounts of dietary fiber.

People who eat more fiber, especially fiber from fruits, experience significantly lower risk of pancreatic cancer, according to Italian research. Those with the highest total fiber intake had a 40% lower risk than those with the lowest intake. However, grain fibers were not linked to any apparent benefit. The authors suggested several possible mechanisms for these findings, including the possibility that dietary fiber is an indicator of an overall healthier lifestyle.

PositiveTip: Diets rich in dietary fiber, especially from fruits and vegetables, provide many benefits. 

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Not All Dietary Fibers are Equal

Dietary fiber from whole grains lowers colorectal cancer risk.

A meta-analysis of 25 studies that involved almost 2 million people revealed that fiber from whole grains reduced the risk of colorectal cancer by 21% compared with fiber from fruits, vegetables, or legumes. Higher intakes showed greater risk reduction. Dietary fiber shortens stool transit times, increases stool bulk, and probably dilutes gut carcinogens, thereby lowering risk.

PositiveTip: Lower your risk of colorectal cancer by eating whole grains every day.

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Vegetarian Diet and Dietary Fiber Lowers Risk of Diverticular Disease

Diverticular disease lower in vegetarians with high fiber diets.

British study of vegetarians and non-vegetarians found that vegetarians have a 31% lower risk of developing diverticular disease and in those consuming greater than 25.5 grams of  dietary fiber had 41% less risk compared with those consuming less than 14 grams.  Death rates from diverticular disease was 4.4% in meat eaters versus 3% in the vegetarians.

PositiveTip: A plant-based diet lowers the risk of diverticular disease along with many others.

Dietary Fiber Reduces Breast Cancer Risk

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women. Its mortality rates have been greatly reduced by advances in diagnostic measures, surgery, and chemotherapy. But diet can play a role in preventing breast cancer altogether.

Higher estrogen levels in the blood are a risk factor promoting the development of breast cancer. Women eating a high fiber diet tend to have lower blood estrogen levels, and therefore have a lower risk.

An article published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recently reviewed the available data on diet and breast cancer. A total of 16,848 cases of breast cancer occurred among the 712,195 participants in the 10 prospective studies on dietary fiber intake and beast cancer.