Got fiber? More than 80 percent of us don't eat enough, and the result is expanding our waistlines and putting us at risk for heart disease, according to a new study reported by Yahoo Health on December 4.
Researchers discovered that eating insufficient fiber boosts the risk of heart disease, obesity and metabolic syndrome. Most men in the study ate less than half of the amount needed for healthy hearts.
Fiber plays a role in reducing your blood pressure, maintaining healthy levels of cholesterol and reducing inflammation. A diet high in fiber helps you lose weight by reducing food cravings and improving insulin sensitivity.
So how much is enough? The Institute of Medicine recommends:
- 38 grams of fiber daily for men ages 19 to 50
- 30 grams daily for men over 50
- 25 grams daily for women ages 19 to 50
- 21 grams daily for women over 50
Although many foods are labeled "high in whole grains," it's important to go beyond those marketing claims. Check the nutrition labels to see how much fiber each serving provides.
Foods that are high in fiber include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Beans and legumes
- Whole wheat and bran
- Oats and psyllium
Don't go overboard when it comes to adding in the fiber: Add it slowly. For example:
- Fiber One Chewy Bars Oats and Chocolate have nine grams of fiber per serving. Try adding one a day for an afternoon snack.
- Benefit from 13 grams of fiber in one serving of Nature's Path Organic Smart Bran, Psyllium & Oatbran Cereal (click for details).
- One large apple has five grams of fiber. Try slicing an apple over your morning oatmeal and dice another apple into your yogurt for dessert in the evening.