15/02/2011 05:17 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

High-Fibre Diet May Help You Live Longer

Eat more fibre is a message often spouted by diet experts. If you're trying to lose weight it can help by making you feel fuller for longer, and by keeping your blood sugar levels stable. But experts writing in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine also claim eating more fibre could help you live longer and protect you against some diseases.

broad-beans-fava-beans-high-fibre Broad beans may look boring but they are high in fibre. Photo: Corbis

The US-based National Cancer Institute researchers examined the diets of more than 350,000 people and found that, nine years later, those who ate the most fibre were 22% less likely to have died from any cause compared to those who ate the least.

According to the experts the study also suggests fibre might protect against heart disease and respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia and flu. The study mentions some of the other health benefits of eating lots of fibre too, including a reduced risk of developing certain cancers, diabetes and obesity, as well as lowering cholesterol and blood pressure.

Eating more fibre sounds like something we should all do. However experts believe many people don't eat nearly enough of it. In this country, the official recommendation is 18g of fibre a day, but the average person only eats about 12g.

Found only in plants, there are two types of fibre - soluble and insoluble - and ideally your diet should be rich in both. To top up your soluble fibre levels, eat more beans, oats and lentils. Meanwhile good sources of insoluble fibre include whole grains (including wholemeal bread and breakfast cereals), fruit and vegetables.

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