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Dr. Oz: Boost your weight loss, reduce cancer risk with fiber-rich diet

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Do you know the biggest health mistake made by most Americans? Dr. Mehmet Oz says that it's a lack of fiber. He revealed how eating fiber can boost your weight loss, reduce your risk of cancer and help prevent heart disease on his Sept. 2 talk show.

When you hear the word fiber, do you think of an enormous bowl of bran cereal? While some cereals do contain fiber, don't assume that eating cereal for breakfast provides you with enough fiber each day. Studies have shown that women who eat 30 or more grams of fiber daily reduce their risk of breast cancer, while those who consume 38 grams or more lower their risk of ovarian cancer.

Some fruits are good sources of fiber, including strawberries, prunes, apples and pears. You can also go nuts for almonds, walnuts and pistachios, all of which contain fiber as well as protein. In addition, kidney beans, peas and lentils are excellent sources of fiber while providing a vegan protein source.

Quinoa has become increasingly popular because it provides a gluten-free grain source. It's high in fiber as well and makes a healthy alternative to traditional breakfast cereals. If you want to use bread as a fiber source, however, be aware that most gluten-free breads have minimal fiber. Look for a bread with five grams of fiber or more per serving.

When it comes to fiber's role in boosting your weight loss, beans are particularly helpful. A new study found that dieters felt 31 percent more satisfied after consuming about 3/4 cup of beans, reported the Richmond Register on Sept. 1.

Nutritionists typically classify beans in the meat category rather than vegetables. Although they have the most fiber of any unprocessed type of food, they contain lean protein. They also provide a good source of low-glycemic carbohydrates for diabetics.

It's not just women who can benefit from fiber. Children and men need to fiber up, too. Based on the latest studies, men need 38 grams or more per day, while children should eat five grams of fiber plus their age, reported the Lexington-Herald on Aug. 31.

For example, a child who is eleven should eat 16 grams of fiber. But don't start piling on the fiber in a single meal. Gradually increase fiber intake, and be sure to drink enough water as well.

Fiber can also help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and bowel disease. Researchers have found that consuming sufficient amounts of fiber and fluids help reduce the risk of a weak bowel wall, which occurs in 66 percent of Americans by age 85.

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