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Get the Facts on Fiber

Foods high in fiber are generally low in fat and calories, fill you up more, and keep you full longer. Plus, the same
foods that are high in fiber tend to be high in essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and sometimes even protein.

As it moves through your digestive tract, fiber also absorbs cholesterol, cancer-causing toxins, and prevents constipation. Fiber can also protect against heart disease and diabetes.

Women should aim for at least 25 grams of fiber a day, and men should try get at least 30 grams a day.

Here are some fiber-rich foods to help you increase your intake.

  • Whole Grains: 6-8 ounces per day (18-40 grams of fiber)
  • Fruits: 2 cups per day (7-8 grams)
  • Vegetables: 2 1/2 cups per day (5-10 grams)
  • Seeds: A handful of chia, flax or sunflower seeds (3-4 grams)

Here are some ways to add more fiber to your diet:

  • Read food labels; look for items that have at least 2 1/2 grams of fiber per serving.
  • Eat whole fruit instead of drinking fruit juice, which has less fiber.
  • Add beans to dishes like soups, salad and chili.

To get all of fiber’s benefits, you need the soluble type, which can be found in nuts, beans and apples, and the insoluble type, which is in whole-wheat bread and fruit skins.

However, some gastrointestinal conditions, as well as cancer treatments, may require a low-fiber diet. To stay healthy without irritating your stomach, choose ripened fruit, like bananas and peaches, and well-cooked or canned vegetables.

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Sources: Krames Patient Education, WebMD®