Fiber Benefits More Than Regularity

Healthy eating: oats and milk

You probably know that it’s a good idea to eat more fiber. But do you know why?

Fiber is found in plant-based foods. It adds volume to your diet, but passes through the intestines quickly because the body can’t digest it. That’s why fiber can make you feel full faster and prevent constipation. It may also help lower your cholesterol level and reduce your risk for heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, women should get 25 grams of fiber every day and men, 38 grams.

Vegetables are a major source of fiber, some more than others. These include leafy, raw greens, and cruciferous ones such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Legumes such as lentils, dried peas and all manner of beans are other good sources of fiber; many even pack in protein, making them a substitution for meat.

Nuts and seeds also add fiber to your diet. Just watch quantities since they’re very calorie dense. Put fresh and dried fruit on your list, too. Apples and pears with the skin are good choices. Also try raisins and prunes.

Hot cereal like oatmeal and cold cereal like bran flakes provide good amounts of fiber. And, of course, don’t forget whole wheat bread and pastas, bran muffins, brown rice and even popcorn. However, ramping up your fiber intake too quickly can cause gas and bloating.

So if you’re looking to fill up on fiber, experts say start slow and gradually increase the amount you eat every day. – New York Times

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