Adding More Fiber to Your Diet

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July 10, 2014 11:20 AM EST

Lack of dietary fiber in your meals may lead to colon diseases, gastrointestinal track disorders, diabetes or even heart problems.

Fiber, which is mainly found in vegetables, fruits and whole grains, offers many health benefits like reducing cholesterol, helps achieve healthy weight and maintains bowel movement.

Eating a Mediterranean diet may help lower risk of peripheral artery disease, researchers reveal.

Are you getting the right amount of fiber? Check these tips on how to get more fiber into your diet:

1.     Identify the amount of fiber you need. The following daily recommendations for adults was provided by the Institute of Medicine:

  •  Men under 50, 38 grams of fiber daily
  •  Men over 50, 30 grams of fiber daily
  •  Women under 50, 25 grams of fiber daily
  •  Women over 50, 21 grams of fiber daily

2.     Never skip breakfast. Jump-start your day with a high-fiber, high protein meal. Choose cereals with "bran," "whole grain" or "fiber" in the labels and with 5 or more grams of fiber per serving. Add fruits like bananas, berries or raisins to cereals. Fiber Expert Joanne Slavin, PhD, RD, a professor at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul and member of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee said, In general, eating cereal -- especially high-fiber cereals -- is beneficial for weight loss.

"Studies that look at what people eat show those who eat more carbs, more fiber, and cereal in general weigh less than those who eat less fiber, carbs, and cereal."

3.     Eat more fruits and vegetables. Eating more fiber-rich fruits and vegetables can help you increase your fiber intake. Here are some of the high-fiber foods you can add to your diet: apples, pears, broccoli, carrots, whole grains and spinach.

4.     Try recipes high in dietary fiber.

5.     Make snacks count. Good choices are fresh fruits, low-fat popcorn and raw vegetables. Also, drink plenty of water as fiber works best when it absorbs water. Take note that too much fiber can cause diarrhea, crams and bloating so it is better to add just a few grams of fiber at a time and talk with your doctor about your plans.

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(Photo: Mike65444/Flickr / )
Eating a Mediterranean diet may help lower risk of peripheral artery disease, researchers reveal.
(Photo: / )
A farmer uses a threshing machine as he harvests wheat crop in Arbeen, in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta June 1, 2014. War and drought have cut Syria's wheat forecast to between 1 million and 1.7 million tonnes, agricultural experts and traders say. Before the conflict, it typically produced around 3.5 million tonnes a year. Picture taken June 1, 2014. REUTERS/Diaa Al-Din (SYRIA - Tags: POLITICS CONFLICT FOOD AGRICULTURE CIVIL UNREST BUSINESS COMMODITIES)
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