fiberYou’ve heard it before, from your doctor, from TV, and probably from your mom. Eat more fiber, it’s good for you! Well, guess what? They’re right, and a new study proves the point.

A new large study shows that fiber intake is associated with a significantly reduced risk of total death, including cardiovascular mortality and deaths from infectious and respiratory diseases.The 2010 dietary guidelines for Americans recommend choosing fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains frequently and consuming 14 g [of dietary fiber per] 1000 calories. A diet rich in dietary fiber from whole plant foods may provide significant health benefits.

Not only that, but the added bulk will fill you up faster and leave you more satisfied, which leads to eating less calories, which leads to weight loss and even a cheaper grocery bill.  What a perk!

There are a number of health benefits for fiber. The most promising benefit that is receiving more and more attention is fiber’s role in immune health. We know that cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity have underlying inflammatory processes. Dietary fiber may play a role to modulate the immune system and therefore produce a decreased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and obesity.

What are some high fiber foods that you can add to your diet? Here is a quick list of the top fiber rich foods.

  1. Bran – Bran from many grains is very rich in dietary fiber.
  2. Beans – Beans are one of the most naturally rich sources of fiber, as well as protein, lysine, vitamins, and minerals.
  3. Berries – Berries happen to yield one of the best fiber-per-calorie bargains on the planet.
  4. Whole Grains – One of the easiest ways to up fiber intake is to focus on whole grains, which is the whole seed of a plant.
  5. Sweet Peas – Peas—from fresh green peas to dried peas—are naturally chock full of fiber.
  6. Nuts and Seeds – One ounce of nuts and seeds can provide a hearty contribution to the day’s fiber recommendation, along with a bonus of healthy fats, protein, and phytochemicals.
  7. Squash – Squash are part of the gourd family and contribute a variety of flavors, textures, and colors, as well as fiber, vitamins, minerals, and carotenoids.
  8. Brassica vegetables – Brassica vegetables include broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts and are full of fiber.
  9. Potatoes – There are numerous potatoes that can provide a rainbow of colors, nutrients, and flavors—and don’t forget to eat the skins to reap the greatest fiber rewards.
  10. Fresh fruit – Many fresh fruits such as apples, pears, oranges, and bananas are packed full of fiber.
  11. Exotic foods – Don’t rule out the more unusual foods at the market like jicama, edamame, avocados, starfruit, and persimmons for foods that pack a load of fiber.
  12. Fortified Foods – More and more companies are realizing the benefits of fiber and are adding healthy amounts to their products. Look for fiber fortified breads, yogurt, cereals, and bars to name a few.

For more information about the medical study of fiber and cardiovascular disease, visit Study Supports Fiber Reduces Cardiovascular Disease on our companion website, Chemically Pure.