Simply adding fiber to your diet can conquer several of the most common, and serious, diseases.
Do you love carbohydrates, but thought they weren’t good for you? Think again. Fiber is a type of carb that your body can’t digest, and a review of recent studies show it plays an important role in fighting disease. The latest national dietary guidelines point to the easiest way to improve your diet for a healthier outcome: Eat more fiber.
Lower Your Risk
Fiber lowers the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and colon cancer by 15 to 30 percent. Incredibly, people who ate more fiber also lowered their risk of dying early from any cause by the same margin. The more fiber people consumed, the greater the protective benefits. In fact, every 8 grams of additional fiber eaten per day correlated with a drop in the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, and colon cancer.
The results were gleaned from a review of 243 studies that followed participants for numerous years and recorded what they ate and their health outcomes, as well as clinical trials in which volunteers either changed their diets or were part of a control group. The researchers also examined data such as blood pressure, body weight, cholesterol, blood sugar, and inflammation.
How Much Fiber is Enough
The average American eats about 15 grams of fiber daily. However, new guidelines recommend that women consume at least 25 grams daily, and men have 38 grams a day.
“Our research indicates that people should have at least 25-29 grams of fiber from foods per day,” says Andrew Reynolds, lead author of the study and a researcher at the University of Otago in New Zealand. “Currently, most people consume less than 20 grams of fiber per day, so being more conscious about choosing high-fiber food options will help reach that target.”
Various studies point to the reason fiber is such a strong ally for good health. It stimulates beneficial bacteria in the gut to reduce colon cancer risk. Foods rich in fiber tend to take a long time to chew and be heavier than others, increasing satiety and likely lowering obesity rates that are linked to heart disease and cancer.
You may wonder exactly what you need to eat to meet the fiber guidelines. The Mayo Clinic offers a handy chart of high-fiber foods to get started. For instance, a cup of red raspberries is good for 8 grams of fiber, or you can eat an apple with the skin for 4.5 grams. Green peas merit 9 grams of fiber per cup, a raw carrot adds 1.5 grams, and a cup of black beans is good for a whopping 15 grams.
As an added benefit, fiber regulates the body’s
use of sugars so it naturally helps put a damper on hunger sensations.
Source: CSA Blog, April 30, 2019