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Add a Little Fiber to Your Diet

Have meals been less than satisfying lately? Discover how including fiber in your diet can help you feel full longer and improve your health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person should have 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories he or she consumes each day, but many American diets are coming up short.

Fiber is a substance found in plants that comes in two forms: soluble fiber, which dissolves, and insoluble fiber, which remains intact as it passes through the digestive system.

Both forms of fiber provide benefits for your body by helping to:

• Control blood sugar

• Keep the digestive system regular

• Lower cholesterol

• Manage weight

It’s easy to create fiber-rich meals. Replace foods such as white bread or white rice with whole-grain bread or brown rice. Since fruits and vegetables are considered an excellent source of fiber, it is recommended that adults eat about 4 1/2 cups each day. This may sound like a lot, but finding ways to eat these fiber-friendly foods throughout the day can help boost fiber numbers.

“Enhance fiber in meals by adding beans and lentils to soups, stews and main dishes or eating fruits and vegetables as snacks,” says Laurie Lively, registered and licensed dietitian at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne. “All it takes is a conscious effort to include fiber in each meal.”

Want to find delicious ways to add fiber to your diet? Visit TexasHealth.org/Recipes.

(Summer 2011)

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