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Most Americans only get 15 grams of fiber a day, which is well below the recommended amount of 30-38 grams a day for men and about 25 grams for women.

Foods high in fiber include whole grains, apples, bananas, pears, pistachios, popcorn, lentils and almonds. It’s easy to incorporate these foods into your diet – and it goes a long way when it comes to your health.

Fiber holds endless health benefits that can lower you risk for chronic diseases, improve your digestive health and even help manage your weight. Here are some reasons to include more fiber in your diet:

Controls blood sugar

Eating a high-fiber diet can help slow the uptake of glucose when digesting food. Research shows that those who eat more fiber have a smaller risk of developing high or low blood sugar issues, like Type 2 diabetes.

Prevents bad cholesterol

Eating foods that contain soluble fiber, such as sweet potatoes, beans and nuts, can also have cardiovascular benefits. A fiber-rich diet can help lower LDL, the bad cholesterol, which can interfere with healthy blood flow and lead to heart disease and stroke. Something as simple as eating an avocado or apple every day can help prevent these issues.

Helps with weight management

Fiber consumption can help in the treatment of obesity and obesity-related risk factors. Eating more fiber helps you feel full and can help you eat less and avoid temptations when you feel hungry. A combination of water soluble and water insoluble fiber sources offer the greatest health and weight control benefits when combined with other weight control lifestyle modifications.

Soluble fiber absorbs water, turning into a mushy substance (think of what happens when you add water to oatmeal). This helps you to feel full without adding many calories to your diet. Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, is often thought of as “roughage.”  It doesn’t dissolve in water and includes things like seeds, and the skins of many fruits and vegetables. It adds bulk to waste in your digestive system and can help keep you regular and avoid constipation.

Improves digestive health

Fiber can also help regulate digestion. Insoluble fibers help soften stool and prevent constipation. Eating a good amount of insoluble fiber every day can help your digestive system operate most efficiently.

Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus, and the newest one in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Information for both facilities can be found at, or call (407) 266-DOCS to schedule an appointment.

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