Just when you thought you’d heard everything about the wonders of fiber (less constipation! lower LDL cholesterol! better blood sugar! easier weight loss!), a new one crops up. And this one’s a big deal: longer life.
Get plenty of fiber and you’ll be 22% less likely to kick the bucket early. If you’re thinking, “Yeah, but I probably have to sprinkle fiber supplements on everything,” here’s another surprise: You’ll hit the mark simply by aiming for the regular (and we do mean regular!) fiber quotas that we YOU Docs and others recommend anyway: 25 to 30 grams a day.
How hard is that to get? Hard? It’s easy. Check out the fiber in 1 cup of these: beans, 15 grams; peas, 9 grams; raspberries, 8 grams; broccoli, 6 grams; corn, 4 grams; oatmeal, 4 grams; Cheerios, 3 grams. And a pear has 5 grams; an apple, 4 grams; two slices of whole-wheat bread, 4 grams; a quarter cup of almonds, 4 grams; a tablespoon of psyllium husks, 5 grams. See, YOU can do this . . . and cut your risk of heart disease, cancer, and breathing problems.
Convert grain-y side dishes to fiber-rich 100% whole-grain versions and you’ll also get the vitamins, the minerals, and the dozens of health-enhancing phytochemicals in grain’s innermost part, the kernel, which (like the fiberful bran layer) is usually processed out in refined-grain products. That’s why the real thing is so much healthier. Start by substituting brown rice (4 grams per cup) for white (1 gram per cup). Then, get to know barley (6 grams) and quinoa (5 grams). Cook up a pot of whole-wheat spaghetti (6 grams). In a hurry? Reach for whole-wheat couscous (7 grams) and you’ll have a fiber-rich side dish in a flash.