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Fibre-Rich Diet Key to Long, Healthy Life

Looking to add more fiber to your diet? Fiber—along with adequate fluid intake—moves quickly and relatively easily through your digestive tract and helps it function properly. A high-fiber diet may also help reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease and diabetes.

What is fiber?

First, it is important to note that fiber only occurs in fruits, vegetables, and grains. It is part of the cellular wall of these foods. Fiber works by drawing fluids from the body to add bulk to the stool. When increasing dietary fiber in your diet it is essential to start slowly, and increase gradually.

The vast majority of our country’s population gets less than half of the daily recommended fiber which is 25 grams/day for women, and 35-40 grams/day for men.

Without fiber, our digestive tract suffers, we develop high cholesterol that may lead to heart disease, and inflammation may increase in the body.

High fiber diets help to lower the risk of some cancers, diverticulosis, heart disease, irritable bowel syndrome, kidney stones, and obesity. Some studies show that women with PMS or those that are menopausal can experience some relief from symptoms with high-fiber diets.

For individuals with digestive tract conditions, dietary fiber may help to relieve symptoms. High fiber helps to shift the balance of bacteria, increasing healthy bacteria, while decreasing the unhealthy bacteria that can be the root of some digestive problems.

Benefits of High-Fiber Foods

Many processed foods including cereals and breads, have added fiber. These sources of fiber used in for this supplementation are not the healthiest. In fact, just as with popular fiber supplements, many ingredients may be harmful to your health. So, as it is with all nutrients, it is much better to eat fresh foods, rich in the nutrients you need.

Avocado is one of the greatest fiber stars. In addition to the fiber, they are packed with healthy fats that help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.

Blackberries are high in Vitamin K that is associated with boosting of bone density, while the raspberry’s high manganese levels help to support healthy bones, skin, and blood sugar levels. All of these benefits, in addition to providing a great tasting way to add fiber to your diet.

Coconut products are growing in popularity, with good reason. Coconut has low glycemic index, and is easy to incorporate into your diet; with 4 to 6 times the amount of fiber as oat bran, coconut flour and grated coconut is a great way to add a healthy natural fiber to your diet. In countries where coconut is a dietary staple, there are fewer incidents of high cholesterol and heart disease. For most baking recipes, you can substitute up to 20% coconut flour for other flours.

Dried figs and fresh figs are also a great source of fiber. Unlike many other foods, figs have a near perfect balance of soluble and insoluble fiber. Figs are associated with lower blood pressure and protection against macular degeneration, in addition to the benefits of the fiber. Even if you don’t like dried figs, fresh figs are delicious and can be enjoyed on top of cereals, salads, and even stuffed with goat cheese and honey for a special dessert.

Low in calories, rich in fiber and essential nutrients, artichokes is a great addition to your diet. Just one medium artichoke accounts for nearly half of the recommended fiber intake for women, and a third for men. In addition, artichokes are one of the top 10 high antioxidant foods. 

As one of the power-packed cruciferous vegetables, Brussels sprouts are one of the better high fiber foods. Rich with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, Brussels sprouts support healthy detox, and may reduce the risk of some types of cancer.

Black beans are nutrient dense, and provide great protein and fiber to your diet. The high content of flavonoids and antioxidants help to fight free radicals, reducing your risk of some cancers and inflammatory diseases.

While relatively small in comparison to some of the foods mentioned above, nuts are a healthy way to quickly increase your fiber intake. Almonds are lower in calories and fats than walnuts, while higher in potassium and protein. Walnuts however have been shown to improve verbal reasoning, memory, and mood, and are believed to support good neurologic function.

Overall, fiber is everyone’s favorite kind of important nutrient: one that’s easy to get plenty of without thinking of, comes in so many different forms that everyone can find something they like, and doesn’t require a lot of laborious preparation or processing. Just eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables will give you as much fiber as your body can use, so grab a bowl of fresh strawberries and celebrate having one less diet problem to worry about.