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5 reasons to eat more fiber

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All You

Fiber can help you slim down and decrease your risk of disease. Here’s five great reasons to love this nutrient.

1. It promotes regularity. Insoluble fiber softens and adds heft to the stool, reducing your risk of developing uncomfortable constipation. Experts say a high-fiber diet also might reduce your chances of developing diverticulosis, a relatively common condition in which small pouches form in the colon.

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2. It keeps your heart healthy. Adults with the highest intake of fiber had a significantly lower risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a study presented at an American Heart Association Meeting last year. This supports existing research that links fiber to lower rates of blood pressure, cholesterol and inflammation.

3. It can help you stay trim. Scientists at Tufts University in Massachusetts found that women who added 14 grams of fiber to their daily diets lost, on average, more than 4 pounds in four months.

High-fiber foods typically require more chewing, slowing down eating and promoting satiety, filling you up with fewer calories.

4. It cuts type 2 diabetes risk. The fiber in whole grains is estimated to reduce diabetes risk by about 35 percent. High-fiber foods tend not to spike blood sugar after you eat them. (Diabetes is defined by high blood sugar.) Plus, soluble fiber slows digestion–which helps improve blood glucose levels.

5. It can lengthen your life. The National Cancer Institute suggests that women who get up to 26 grams of fiber per day and men who get 29 grams per day–specifically the kind in whole grains–might reduce the risk of early death from any cause by 22 percent. Experts credit fiber’s anti-inflammatory properties.