By Pete Williams
It wasn’t that long ago that a mention of the word “fiber” conjured up images of cheesy commercials featuring seniors talking about regularity.
Fiber does, of course, keep things flowing through the system. But now we know that getting enough fiber has a host of health benefits, as we were reminded this week when the National Institutes of Health released a study that found people who consumed higher amounts of fiber, especially from grains, had a significantly lower risk of dying over a nine-year span compared to those who consumed low amounts.
Fiber improves gastrointestinal health and function and helps prevent colon cancer. It regulates blood sugar levels, keeps you full, and promotes long-term cardiovascular health by reducing cholesterol. Fiber is found in oatmeal, beans, whole grains, fruits, and green, leafy vegetables.
Most people don’t get nearly enough fiber in their diet; you need between 25 and 30 grams per day and most people get less than half that amount. When choosing whole grains, look for products that include at least 3 grams of fiber per serving. Because fiber is found mostly in carbohydrates and is essential to overall health, people who follow low-carb diet plans deprive themselves of this vital source of nutrition.