A Quick Tip for Good Health!

Want one easy tip that will almost certainly improve your health? Add more fiber to your diet!

What is fiber? It's a type of carbohydrate that cannot be digested by the human body. It's found primarily in plant-based foods and, because our enzymes cannot act on it, fiber passes through the stomach and intestines relatively unchanged. It's main role in the diet is to keep the digestive system healthy.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, most of us need a lot more fiber in our diets than we are currently consuming. Women should eat 25 grams of fiber every day and men need 38 grams per day - and guess how much the average person eats? Yes, way below that -- about 14 grams per day. That's because the mainstay of the American diet - highly processed, prepared foods - typically contain less fiber than their fresh or even their home-cooked counterparts.

When it comes to our overall health, the consequences of a low fiber diet range from merely unpleasant to very serious. Too little fiber in the diet is the major cause of constipation, and can also lead to bloating and consistent feelings of low energy. More worrisome, a low fiber diet can result in elevated blood pressure, intestinal problems like diverticulitis, and even colon cancer.

So how do you add more fiber to your daily food intake? The easiest way is to simply eat more fruits and vegetables! Beans and whole grains are also good sources.

Here is the Dietary Guidelines list of top sources of dietary fiber. Try to add one more to your diet every day:

  • Apples

  • Artichokes

  • Black Beans

  • Bulgur

  • Bran Cereal

  • Chickpeas

  • Dates

  • Leafy Greens

  • Lentils

  • Navy Beans

  • Oranges

  • Parsnips

  • Pears

  • Pinto Beans

  • Potatoes

  • Raspberries

  • Split Peas

  • Sweet Potatoes

  • Whole Grain Bread

  • Winter Squash

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