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Only 5 percent of people in the US meet the Institute of Medicine’s recommended daily target of 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. That amounts to a population-wide deficiency.
Eating a fiber-rich diet is associated with better gastrointestinal health and a reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes, high cholesterol, obesity, type 2 diabetes, even some cancers. Fiber slows the absorption of glucose — which evens out our blood sugar levels — and also lowers cholesterol and inflammation.
Fiber doesn’t just help us poop better — it also nourishes our gut microbiome.
Instead of munching on fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, and seeds, more than half of the calories Americans consume come from ultra-processed foods. On any given day, nearly 40 percent of Americans eat fast food. These prepared and processed meals tend to be low in fiber, or even fiber free.
Fiber is a group of different kinds of plant-based carbohydrates that affect our gastrointestinal tract in myriad ways:
Consider snacking on whole fruits, replacing white bread with whole-grain alternatives, eating potatoes with the skins on, and tossing berries, nuts, and seeds on your yogurt, cereals, or salads, Lots of small changes can add up. If you like smoothies, throw your fruits, veggies, and nuts in a blender. Even baking does not destroy most fibers.
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