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Reduce the risk of 4 major diseases by eating more of this now!

How impactful can a single nutrient be? Esteemed medical journal The Lancet recently published a study that found that eating more of this important food item led to lower rates of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke & colon cancer in test subjects.

So what exactly is this food item?

Dietary fiber (also known as roughage) includes all parts of plant-based foods that the body is unable to digest.

Unlike protein, carbohydrates and fats, fiber is not digested by the body and passes almost entirely through the digestive system.

Types of Fiber

Soluble fiber dissolves in water and becomes gel-like when wet. It helps lower cholesterol and glucose levels and is found in foods like beans, apples, oats, barley, peas and citrus fruits.

Insoluble fiber promotes the passing of material through the digestive system. It increases stool bulk which benefits people who struggle with constipation. Insoluble fiber is found in foods like wheat bran, nuts, beans whole-wheat flour and certain vegetables like cauliflower and potatoes.

The Study

The research group followed 4,600 participants in 185 studies.

Researchers noted that the risk of participants experiencing the four major diseases (type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke & colon cancer) began to fall when they consumed anywhere from 25 to 29 grams of fiber per day.

This finding is particularly interesting because the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations for daily fiber intake are as follows: up to age 50, women should eat 25 grams of fiber per day. After age 50, they should aim for 21 grams daily. The corresponding amounts for men are 38 and 30 grams.

Fiber, The 4 Major Diseases & Fidings

  1. In people with type 2 diabetes, fiber—particularly soluble fiber—helps slow down or delay the absorption of sugar in the body. "Patients who have type 2 diabetes come here to the clinic because their diet tends to be high in calories and low in fiber," explains registered dietitian Amy Kranick, certified diabetes educator at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn.
    Healthy Habits Tip: Read more about how you can keep control of your blood sugar levels the natural way here
  2. Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States, and a high fiber diet aids in lowering cholesterol. In fact, research shows that women can reduce their risk of heart disease by 82% and men can reduce their risk by 79% by eating a healthy, fiber-rich diet. Unfortunately, most Americans fall woefully short of these goals, consuming only about 16 grams or less of fiber daily on average.
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  3. According to a new study done by the Center for Epidemiology & Biostatistics at the University of Leeds in England, for every 7-gram increase in daily fiber consumption, an individual's risk for experiencing an initial stroke goes down by 7%. This conclusion was made after over 20 years of research. "This is important because most people in the U.S. do not eat enough fiber-rich foods," said Dr. Victoria Burley, co-researcher & author.
  4. Among people treated for non-metastatic colon cancer, for every 5-gram increase in their daily fiber consumption, their odds of dying was reduced by close to 25%, says lead researcher Dr. Andrew Chan, associate professor at the Department of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. "There is a possibility that increasing your intake of fiber may actually lower the rate of dying from colon cancer and maybe even other causes," adds Dr. Chan.
    Healthy Habits Tip: Read more about how to cleanse & detoxify your colon here

Adding More Fiber To Your Diet

Simply eating vegetables before a meal can already increase your fiber consumption. Non-starchy vegetables are also an excellent low-calorie, high-fiber choice.

Here are 3 more ways you can add more fiber to your diet:

Get Poppin’

Not a lot of people realize that popcorn is actually a whole grain—proudly providing a whopping 4 grams of fiber per ounce (28 grams)! For a healthy movie snack, either pop it in a brown paper bag in the microwave or in an air popper. Be sure to go easy on the salt!

Whole O’er Refined

Refined grains have been stripped of their vitamin-containing germ and fiber-rich hull making them last longer but leaving only a fast-absorbing carb. In contrast, whole grains are minimally processed, leaving the whole grain intact. Rolled oats, brown rice, quinoa and millet are a few examples of food items that can bump up your daily fiber needs.

Don’t Be Afraid To Go Nuts

Seeds and nuts provide an abundance of protein, unsaturated fats and fiber. In fact an ounce of almonds already has 3 grams of fiber. They're high in Magnesium and vitamin E too! What's more, seeds and nuts are shelf-stable—making them ideal snacks to have on hand. Use them in recipes to add extra nutrition and fiber to your meals!

Can You Overdose On Fiber?

Experts say no. “There’s no upper limit,” says registered dietitian Karolin Saweres, RDN, LD.

Unpleasant side effects like bloating and gas from too much fiber usually kick in at around 70 grams of fiber per day (double the recommended RDI for men and nearly three times the RDI for women).

So worry not and fiber up for Healthy Habits!

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