Fiber is a type of carbohydrate found in plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes.
Unlike other carbohydrates, fiber is not broken down into sugar and is absorbed into the bloodstream.
Instead, it passes through the digestive system mostly intact, providing several health benefits along the way.
One of the main benefits of fiber is its ability to promote digestive health by preventing constipation, reducing the risk of diverticular disease, and promoting the growth of healthy gut bacteria.
Additionally, fiber has been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of heart disease, and help regulate blood sugar levels, making it an essential nutrient for people with diabetes.
In recent years, research has also shown that fiber may have a positive impact on brain health and cognitive function.
Several studies have found that higher fiber intake is associated with better cognitive performance, lower risk of cognitive decline, and a reduced risk of developing dementia.
A new study suggests that eating more fiber may help lower the risk of cognitive decline (problems with thinking and memory) in older people who have a specific gene (called ApoE ε4) that increases their risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s gene refers to a specific gene variant known as apolipoprotein E (APOE), which is associated with an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
The APOE gene is found on chromosome 19 and has three common variants: ε2, ε3, and ε4. Everyone inherits two copies of the APOE gene, one from each parent.
The ε4 variant of the APOE gene is the strongest genetic risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease.
People who inherit one copy of the ε4 variant have an increased risk of developing the disease, and those who inherit two copies have an even higher risk.
However, having the ε4 variant does not necessarily mean that a person will develop Alzheimer’s disease, as many other factors can also influence a person’s risk.
The study followed 848 volunteers, who were over 65 years old, for 15 years to see how their diet and thinking skills changed over time.
The study found that increasing fiber intake by 5 grams per day was linked to a 30% lower risk of cognitive decline in people with the ApoE ε4 gene.
However, this link was not seen in people with other versions of the gene.
This suggests that older people with the ApoE ε4 gene might benefit from eating more fiber to help protect their thinking skills.
One possible mechanism for this association is that fiber may reduce inflammation in the body, which is thought to be a key driver of cognitive decline and dementia.
Additionally, fiber may improve blood flow to the brain and promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria, which can also have positive effects on brain health.
While the new study focused specifically on the ApoE ε4 gene and its association with fiber intake and cognitive decline, it’s important to note that everyone can benefit from eating a high-fiber diet.
The recommended daily intake of fiber is 25-38 grams per day, but most people fall short of this goal.
Increasing fiber intake can be as simple as adding more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes to your diet, and choosing high-fiber snacks such as nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
Overall, the new study adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that a healthy diet rich in fiber can have a positive impact on cognitive function and overall health.
By making simple dietary changes to increase fiber intake, people of all ages can support their brain health and reduce their risk of chronic diseases.
If you care about dementia, please see recent studies about diabetes drug that may also help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, and this stuff in your nose may trigger Alzheimer’s disease.
For more information about health, please see recent studies about vitamin D deficiency linked to Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia. and results showing that Vitamin B12 deficiency may increase risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.
The study was conducted by Andrea Unión-Caballero et al and published in Age and Ageing.
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