Fiber-rich foods offer broad health benefits, study finds

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Insoluble fiber has long been celebrated for its role in promoting bowel regularity and overall health.

Now, a new study from the University of Minnesota reveals that insoluble fiber sources contain bioactive compounds associated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes.

These findings suggest that consuming fiber-rich foods can offer health benefits that extend beyond gut health.

Exploring Bioactives in Insoluble Fiber Sources

Researchers at the University of Minnesota conducted a comprehensive study published in Nutrients, where they delved into the health benefits of bioactives found in plant sources of insoluble dietary fiber.

These bioactives are natural compounds that contribute to improved health outcomes. The study’s key findings include:

Various plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, contain insoluble dietary fiber, each with its unique set of bioactives.

Insoluble fiber sources house a range of desirable bioactives, including Quercetin, Resveratrol, Catechins, Anthocyanins, Lutein, Lycopene, and Beta-Carotene, all known for their health-promoting properties.

Byproducts from food production, like peels, hulls, pulp, or pomace, are rich in both fiber and bioactives, presenting an opportunity to enhance the nutritional value of processed foods in a sustainable manner.

Fortifying Processed Foods with Bioactives

The research opens up exciting possibilities for fortifying processed foods with bioactives and insoluble dietary fiber to boost their nutritional content.

This approach aligns with efforts to make healthier food options more accessible to consumers. Importantly, the study found that incorporating bioactives at a low level did not diminish the acceptability of food products among consumers.

Jan-Willem Van Klinken, co-author of the study and senior vice president of medical, scientific, and regulatory affairs for Brightseed, emphasized the potential of fiber-fortified products to provide consumers with enhanced nutritional value while maintaining their palatability.

A Call for Broad Awareness and Education

This research highlights the need for collaboration between industry, academia, and government to raise awareness and educate the public about the health benefits of bioactives in food.

Recognizing the value of these compounds in addition to insoluble fiber can revolutionize how we view dietary choices and their impact on overall well-being.

Lead author Madeline Timm underscored the potential of bioactives in foods and supplements to positively influence human health.

Continued research and the widespread inclusion of bioactives in our diets can have a significant and lasting impact on public health.

Future Research and Optimizing Bioactives

While this study sheds light on the health benefits of bioactives in insoluble fiber-rich foods, further research is necessary.

Future investigations should focus on identifying extraction and processing methods that preserve and optimize bioactive compounds, ensuring that individuals can harness the full potential of these natural health boosters.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies that vitamin D can help reduce inflammation, and vitamin K may lower your heart disease risk by a third.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about foods that could sharp your brain, and results showing cooking food in this way may raise your risk of blindness.

The research findings can be found in Nutrients.

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