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Vezels

Voedingsvezels hebben een aantal verrassende voordelen (Engels)

An important study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine recently, adding to the documentation of the significant benefits associated with dietary fiber. Although the results of this study weren't entirely unexpected, some of the specific findings were quite surprising.

This study was a very large cohort (almost 220,000 men and 170,000 women) and prospective trial, with participants aged 50-71 and healthy at the beginning of the study and followed on average for over 9 years. As might be expected from previous data, dietary fiber intake was inversely associated with the total number of deaths among men and women.

 

Specifically, it reduced the risk by 22% when comparing those consuming the most dietary fiber to those consuming the least (by quintile). It reduced the risk of cardiovascular death by 24-34% among men and women respectively, as well as the risk of cancer death by 17% in men only.

 

These are especially compelling findings -- it's much more important to reduce cardiovascular death by than to improve disease markers (e.g., cholesterol) which may or may not translate into actual benefit.

 

So what was so surprising about this study? In addition to reducing total and cardiovascular death, which might have been expected, fiber intake was also associated with a reduced risk of death from respiratory and infectious causes. In fact, it had greater benefit for these categories than it did for cardiovascular or cancer death.

 

A 56% and 31% reduction in infectious and respiratory disease deaths, respectively, in men, and 58% and 46% in women. I would not have predicted this, although fiber was shown to reduce the risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in a previous study.  Also, the most consistent type of fiber associated with benefit was from grains (which was also true in the COPD study). Fiber from beans and vegetables was only weakly associated with a lower total risk of death, while fiber from fruit was not associated with any benefit. This was a surprise to me also.

 

In a commentary published in the same issue, a number of mechanisms for the cardiovascular benefit are suggested, including fiber's ability to lower blood lipids, glucose, blood pressure, and insulin, and because cereal fiber is an important source of magnesium, an important cofactor for many enzymes. Dietary fiber (from grains) and magnesium content were both shown to reduce the risk for diabetes in a previous prospective study.

 

They also consider the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of whole grains, as well the mineral content (zinc and selenium) as being potential mechanisms for the respiratory and infection benefit, which does seem plausible. I would also suspect that dietary fiber's influence on the microbiota (gut flora) may also have a direct effect on both local and systemic immune function.

 

Before loading up on whole grain fiber at the expense of fruits/veggies/beans, I have to wonder how exactly they measured intake of the foods. I know they used a food-frequency questionnaire, and asked people about their usual foods and portion sizes. What I can't tell from reading the study is what counted as a vegetable, and what counted as fruit. For example, if french fries count as veggies, and fruit juice counts as fruit (which unfortunately they often do), this is not surprising. But I would suspect that whole beans, fruits, and especially veggies, particularly green leafy and cruciferous veggies would be likely to be equally beneficial.

 

The bottom line is to eat more whole plant foods and dietary fiber, perhaps with greater emphasis on whole grains, but I certainly would be sure to have lots of whole fruits, legumes, & veggies too. For more info on eating more fiber, check out ecomii's article "gotta get your fiber". How much fiber did they eat in this study? Those in the highest quintile were consuming between 26-30g per day.

 

Dit artikel hebben we voor u gevonden op news.yahoo.com.

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