Every week, we’re bringing you a roundup of the latest health and wellness news to hit the wire. This week, we examine the longevity benefits of sitting for 30 minutes less each day, and the important role fiber plays in preventing disease.

Subtract a half-hour of sitting each day, add years to your life

Replacing half an hour of sitting each day with a half-hour of movement throughout the day, such as strolling around the building at work, was associated with a 17 percent lower risk of early death, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

The finding was surprising to researchers, who didn’t expect light movement to have such a big impact on longevity.

Of course, the news was even better: a 35 percent lower risk of premature death when you replaced the half-hour of sedentary time with moderate to vigorous activity, such as cardiovascular exercise, according to this report in CNN.

The study, conducted in part by Columbia University Medical Center, included national data on 7,999 people aged 45 and older who wore activity monitors to track their sedentary time between 2009 and 2013, with researchers using this date to analyze and simulate the mortality benefits of each type of movement.

Interestingly enough, the study did not back up Columbia’s previous research that said that taking a break from sitting every 30 minutes boosted longevity. Rather, it’s more about the total time spent in movement each day, from the walk to the parking lot to choosing the bathroom farthest from your desk, rather than the frequency. It all adds up, and if it adds up to 30 less minutes of sitting on your backside, it’s a big win for your health.

Make fiber your friend

If there’s one thing that most Americans don’t get enough of in their diet, it’s fiber. Most Americans eat about 15 grams a day, lower than the worldwide average and the same amount found in a single cup of cooked black beans, according to CBS News.

Yet the health payoffs for consuming more fiber from grains, vegetables and fruit are huge, including lower risk of cancer and heart disease. When you compare those who consume very little fiber with those at the high end of the fiber-eating spectrum, the risk of dying from heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and/or colon cancer plunged by 16 to 24 percent, according to a large new study in The Lancet, which analyzed more than 185 studies over the last four decades and the results of another 58 clinical trials.

The research team concluded that more was truly more when it came to fiber, with every additional 8 grams of fiber a person consumed reducing their risk by 5 to 27 percent.

And while most Americans are getting 15 grams a day in their diet, investigators found that taking in 25 to 29 grams a day of dietary fiber was a better starting point—one that’s very doable with a healthy diet. For example, an orange has 3 grams of fiber, a cup of broccoli has 5 grams and one slice of whole-wheat bread has 2 grams.

And reviewing the clinical trials, they found that those who upped their fiber intake reduced both their body weight and the total cholesterol in their blood, two big predictors of disease.

“The health benefits of fiber are supported by over 100 years of research into its chemistry, physical properties, physiology and effects on metabolism,” said study author Andrew Reynolds, Ph.D., a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Otago in New Zealand.

One more reason to dump processed foods

A common food additive in soda, processed foods and meat could be making you lazier, according to a new study from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, summarized in CookingLight.com.

Photo credit: Carl Heyerdahl, Unsplash