Want to Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease, Diabetes and Colon Cancer? You May Want to Double Your Fiber Intake

Study: Adding fiber has big benefits
A plate of high-fiber fruits include strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries on a bed of lettuce and avocado.

Pears. Oatmeal. Popcorn. Artichokes. Most of us have probably heard at one time or another that we should eat more fiber. But now a recent study shows that adding fiber to your daily diet can benefit your health in a big way.

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The study looked at data on 4,635 adults from 185 prospective studies.

What protective effect was found

Researchers found that people who ate between 25 and 29 grams of fiber per day saw a 15 to 30% decrease in their risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and colon cancer.

“Americans are getting, on average, about 12 and a half grams of fiber each day, which isn’t enough,” says wellness expert Michael Roizen, MD, who did not take part in the study. “This study showed a sizeable reduction in health risks from getting at least 25 grams (or double the average intake) of fiber.”

The study also showed people who ate higher amounts of fiber ― found in foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains ― also had lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and lower body weight.

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Easy ways to up your fiber intake

One easy way to add more fiber to your diet? Use your refrigerator, Dr. Roizen says.

Previous research shows carbohydrates, like pasta or sweet potatoes, can become more fiber-like by putting them in the refrigerator overnight. When cooled, these carbs become resistant starch, and in turn, create a smaller spike in blood sugar when eaten the next day.

Eating naturally fiber-rich snacks like raspberries, strawberries, avocados and walnuts is a good way to get more fiber in your diet.

And whenever there is an opportunity to swap enriched white bread for 100% whole-grain bread, Dr. Roizen says: “Go for it!”

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“Replace low-fiber foods with high-fiber foods, and you can painlessly improve your health ― who knew it was so easy?” he says

Complete results of the study can be found in The Lancet.

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