By Wendy Korn Heppt
From Live Right Live Well
Whenever experts talk about digestive health, the one word that comes up more often than not is fiber.
Rich in vitamins and minerals, fiber works by sponging and scouring your digestive tract. It’s one of the best-known preventives and cure-alls for constipation, and it can be helpful in managing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Recent research conducted at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston reveals it may also relieve heartburn and protect against gastroesophageal reflux disease.
What’s more, “eating a sufficient amount of fiber daily helps with weight loss, lowers ‘bad’ cholesterol and has been shown to protect against heart disease, diabetes and some forms of cancer,” notes Dr. Wes Jones, a gastroenterologist and founder of the Cape Fear Center for Digestive Diseases in North Carolina.
Yet despite all the buzz, most Americans consume only half the recommended 25 to 30 grams of fiber they should eat every day, according to the USDA.
If you’re one of them, it’s time to add more fiber to your diet. But do it gradually to give your body time to adjust, advises Jones, author of Cure Constipation Now: A Doctor’s Fiber Therapy to Cleanse and Heal. This will help you avoid bloating and other temporary side effects. Then, once your body has adjusted, follow these tips to get enough fiber in your diet every day.
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