Fill Up, On Fiber!

Be honest now. You’ve smirked while watching those TV commercials touting diets rich in fiber. However, new research shows eating enough fiber isn’t just good for your digestive tract. It’s also essential for a healthy heart.

Doctors at Texas Woman’s University studied 14,640 adults. They say only 8% of women and 4% of men without diabetes consume the daily recommendation of 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories of food. For those older than 50, that figure rises to 30 grams for women and 38 grams for men. That means very few of us are deriving the benefits of fiber. It not only cleans out our bowels, but also lowers “bad” cholesterol a prime factor in preventing cardiovascular death, which now kills more Americans than any other disease.

So, how do you get enough fiber in your diet? Most experts agree supplements aren’t the best way. They're expensive, and their effectiveness has been hard to evaluate. Instead, doctors urge you to eat more whole foods, which “feed” the good bacteria in your gut. Load your plate with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, lean protein, fish, and nonfat dairy. Specifically, try squash, avocados, sweet potatoes, quinoa, blackberries, oats; and for something sweet, dark chocolate. Odds are, you will feel fuller and your heart will be healthier too.

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