Sure, dietary fiber is best known for kicking constipation to the curb, but this powerhouse carbohydrate does so much more than just keep you regular.
“It’s important to include dietary fiber in your diet each day because intake has been linked with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers,” registered dietitian Elisa Zied, author of Younger Next Week, tells Yahoo Health.
“It promotes a healthy gastrointestinal system, helps prevent constipation, and plays a role in lowering blood cholesterol levels. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels and helps you feel full, which may help you with weight management.”
In fact, a new study found that people who solely focused on eating 30 grams of fiber daily lost almost as much weight as ones who tried a complicated diet plan.
And that’s not all: Emerging research suggests that fiber may play beneficial roles in strengthening the immune system and in improving cognitive performance. As an added bonus, fiber-rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes and nuts are also loaded with lots of other good-for-you nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals.
So how much roughage should you get in daily? Adults 19 and older should aim for 21 to 38 grams per day, according to Zied. But most Americans fall woefully short, consuming less than half of the recommended amount of fiber. “Including fiber-rich foods at each meal and snack can help adults meet their daily needs,” she says.