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What is fiber and why do I need it in my diet?

MyBodyStructure’s Tips on Fiber!

What is fiber and why do I need it in my diet?  Fiber by definition is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. Fiber helps the digestion process along with lowering the risk of diabetes, heart disease, diverticulitis, and constipation.  Most people get enough by eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and all types of beans.  Typically, women need at least 20 grams per day, while men should strive for 30 grams or greater per day.  Below are four tips from Harvard the School of Health for achieving a higher fiber count.

1. Go with whole fruit instead of juice. Whole fruits like apples and oranges are packed with a lot more fiber(less calories and sugar) than their liquid counterparts.

2. Break the fast with fruit.  Get off to a great start by adding fruits, like berries and melons to your breakfast every day.

3. Always check the label.  Always check the back and pick foods that are whole grains and make sure its the first ingredient.  Bread, cereal and crackers should have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.

4. Eat more Beans.  Beans are super foods, with high amounts of fiber, a good source of carbohydrates and high in protein.  Try throwing in pinto beans, northern beans and kidney beans into your daily diet.

5. Take a supplement.  If you’re still not reaching the recommended amount of fiber, include a fiber supplement with breakfast.

Top 10 Fiber Sources: Beans, Whole Grains, Brown Rice, Popcorn, Nuts, Baked Potato with skin, Berries, Bran Cereal, Oatmeal, Vegetables

Remember that fiber is just one part of the healthy puzzle.  Be sure to stay active(find an exercise plan here), drink plenty of water, eat whole grains, watch your sugar intake (20% rule) and have a happy attitude about living a healthy balance!

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