All About Fiber And Its Benefits
Fiber is the broom that helps give your intestines a clean sweep. This plant substance multitasks, too. A fiber-rich diet helps protect you from colorectal cancer, heart disease, diabetes, constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticulosis—and perhaps helps you keep a trimmer waistline.
How much do you need? The daily advice is: men, 30 to 38 grams; women, 21 to 25 grams, depending on age. Kids’ needs are figured as age plus 5 (e.g., age 10 + 5 = 15 grams fiber).
When you prepare food, make it a fiber-boosting day.
- Be a bean counter. Beans have at least 5 grams fiber per half cup. Add garbanzos to your salad, soybeans to chili, and any variety to veggie soups, stews, or pizza.
- Enjoy skins. Edible peels on potatoes, apples, grapes, peaches, and eggplant have more fiber than the insides.
- Sneak fiber in. Add bran or oatmeal to meatloaf, or ground flaxseed to batter or dough.
- Go for whole. Use whole-grain ingredients: brown rice in stir-fries and pilaf, whole-wheat flour for half the flour in baked goods.
- Boost veggies. Add extra veggies to casseroles, pasta dishes, pizza, salads, and sandwiches.
- Boost fruit, too. Serve berries or whole fruit (edible skin on) over angel food cake, cereal, pancakes, salad, and yogurt.