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Nutrition News: Fiber to the Rescue

Charlyn Fargo on

If you could just make one change to your diet to help prevent future diseases, add more fiber.

Here are five diseases that fiber can help prevent:

No. 1: The latest research shows that eating a diet high in fiber from vegetables, fruits and whole grains is associated with a reduced incidence of breast cancer. Based on data from 20 observational studies, women with the highest consumption of fiber had an 8% lower risk of breast cancer compared with those who consumed the lowest.

No. 2: That same fiber is the key to diabetes control. Eating high-fiber foods can help keep blood sugar from rising too high and too fast after eating. Fiber takes longer to digest and slows the release of sugar from food into the blood stream.

No. 3: Fiber can also help you lose weight. That's because fiber helps you feel full by adding bulk to the diet. Typically, high-fiber foods are lower in fat and calories.

No. 4: A high intake of dietary fiber has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease. Soluble fiber acts like a sponge in the digestive tract, binding cholesterol and removing it from the body before it has a chance to be absorbed.

 

No. 5: Fiber helps you maintain normal bowel function. It increases the bulk of stools, making them easier to pass and lessening the chance of constipation. A high-fiber diet may lower the risk of hemorrhoids and diverticulosis, and it may possibly provide relief from irritable bowel syndrome.

So, how much fiber do you need? Adults (ages 9 and older) need 21 to 38 grams per day. At least 5 to 10 grams should be from soluble fiber. Children (ages 1 to 8) need 19 to 25 grams per day.

The best sources of fiber are from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts, as well as cereals such as oatmeal, Raisin Bran, All-Bran, Kashi and Wheat Chex. Look for cereals with at least 3 to 5 grams of fiber per serving and for bread that contains 2 grams of fiber per serving.

Some other tips to add fiber into your diet:

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