If you could get to 70 or 80 without an ailment, that would be wonderful wouldn’t it? Now it seems that may be a reality, and the way to do it is actually very easy according to new research.
Findings from NSW’s Westmead Institute recent study show there’s a simple way to age successful – and it all comes down to diet.
Over a 10-year period, researcher followed older adults who were eating a diet rich in fibre.
The researchers found participants who had the highest intake of fibre were nearly 80 per cent more likely to age successfully over a 10-year follow-up.
Lead author Bamini Gopinath, an associate professor in the Institute’s Centre for Vision Research, says the study is the first to look at the link between carbohydrate intake and successful ageing, reports Medical News Today.
“Out of all the variables that we looked at, fibre intake – which is a type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest – had the strongest influence”, Ms Gopinath said.
You can find dietary fibre in many foods like fruits, vegetables and grains.
There are two forms: soluble and insoluble fibre.
Soluble fibre absorbs water and forms a gel. It slows digestion and there is evidence it lowers cholesterol, which helps prevent heart disease. It is found in oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, peas, lentils, and some fruits and vegetables.
Insoluble fibre speeds up food’s movement through the gut and softens the stool. It is found in wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains.
Prof. Gopinath and colleagues defined successful ageing as reaching old age disease-free and fully functional – without “disability, depressive symptoms, cognitive impairment, respiratory symptoms, and chronic diseases”.
The data covered a total of 1,609 adults aged 49 years and older who were free of cancer, coronary artery disease, and stroke when the study started and who were followed for 10 years.
Participants filled in food-frequency surveys and completed them at regular follow-up visits.
At the end of the 10 years, 249 (15.5 percent) of the participants achieved what the researchers defined as successful ageing status.
“We found that those who had the highest intake of fibre or total fibre actually had an almost 80 per cent greater likelihood of living a long and healthy life over a 10-year follow-up”, said Ms Gopinath.
“These findings suggest that increasing intake of fibre-rich foods could be a successful strategy in reaching old age disease free and fully functional”.