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All about fiber

Fiber is an essential part of a healthy diet, but how many know why that's the case? Or how best to get it? Here's what you need to know:

How to get fiber in your diet

Forego the juice in favor of whole, unrefined plants. Legumes are the best source of fiber. Fiber binds and adds bulk to food, so juice doesn't have much fiber in it. Even 100% juices are really just a sugar water with some vitamins. And our internal calorie counters aren't as good at remembering the liquid calories we've consumed; that is, we recognize the food we eat, more so than what we drink, as calories consumed. And liquid calories often enlarge our carbon footprints more so than whole fruits and vegetables (especially if the latter are purchased from a local farmer's market) since liquid calories require processing.

Why we need fiber

Fiber is thought to help prevent colon cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, constipation, diverticulosis, and hemorrhoids. It speeds the flow of waste through the intestines so toxins and carcinogens have less contact time with your body. Also, because fiber adds bulk to food, it will helps one to feel satiated quicker in a meal so you'll consume less calories. And fiber itself won't be adding any pounds to the scale since it's a carbohydrate that the body can't digest.

How much fiber you need

According to the Harvard Nutrition Source, most adult women should shoot for over 20 grams of fiber a day; men should shoot for over 30 grams.

So this morning, pour yourself some whole grain cereal, bite into a piece of fruit, maybe skip the juice, and know you're doing something good for your body.

This article is a reprint of The time or date displayed reflects when an article was added to Google News. ‎Jun 24, 2009‎