Eating the right amount of fibre from breads, cereals, and fruits can help us avoid disease and disability into old age - a benchmark of successful ageing.
Using data compiled from the Blue Mountains Eye Study, a population-based study that examined a cohort of more than 1,600 adults aged 50 years and older for long-term sensory loss risk factors and systemic diseases, the researchers explored the relationship between carbohydrate nutrition and healthy ageing.
They found that out of all the factors they examined - which included a person's total carbohydrate intake, total fibre intake, glycemic index, glycemic load, and sugar intake - it was the fibre that made the biggest difference to what the researchers termed "successful ageing."
Successful ageing was defined as including an absence of disability, depressive symptoms, cognitive impairment, respiratory symptoms, and chronic diseases including cancer, coronary artery disease, and stroke.
"Out of all the variables that we looked at, fiber intake - which is a type of carbohydrate that the body can't digest - had the strongest influence," said lead author Bamini Gopinath, Associate Professor at The Westmead Institute for Medical Research in Australia.
"Essentially, 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. That is, they were less likely to suffer from hypertension, diabetes, dementia, depression, and functional disability," she explained.
(With agency inputs)