Oral Care and Health Daily

Get More Fiber Now

Want to live longer? Eat more fiber. Dietitian Densie Webb shows you just how easy it is to get your...

If I had to give you a single piece of health advice, this would be it: Eat more fiber.

It’s something I say so often that it feels like it’s become the battle cry for nutritionists everywhere. And rightly so: Diets high in fiber offer a virtual treasure trove of health benefits.

Fiber can reduce your risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and colon cancer. And because it’s filling, it can also help you maintain a healthy weight and fight obesity. A recent study from the National Institutes of Health, which involved some 388,000 people, found that getting plenty of fiber can help you live longer.

Still, most of us skimp on the daily fiber recommendations. Compare the average fiber intake in the U.S., a low 15 grams per day, to the 25 g recommended for women and 38 g recommended for men. As a result, the USDA Dietary Guidelines has proclaimed it one of the four main nutrients we fall short of. (Potassium, calcium and vitamin D are the other three.)

The solution is simple: Make a few small changes in the foods you choose every day, and you’ll easily boost your fiber intake. Here are some easy tweaks, meal by meal:


  • High-fiber cereal: Start the day with one that has at least 5 grams of fiber per serving.
  • Oatmeal: Opt for it once or twice a week. It’s great for lowering cholesterol.
  • Fruit and nuts: Top off cereal with fiber-packed add-ons, like sliced bananas, fresh blackberries, dried cranberries or blueberries, and chopped pecans. The American Dental Association says that choosing high-fiber fruits, vegetables and whole grains helps reduce the risk of cavities.


  • Beans: Choose a bean dish; beans are packed with fiber and nutrients.
  • Lentils: When out for lunch, order a savory lentil soup. Lentils, like beans, are full of fiber.
  • Whole grains: Make the switch to whole-grain breads and buns for sandwiches and burgers.


  • Fruit and crackers: Pack fresh fruit (apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, cantaloupe, sliced mango or papaya) and whole-grain crackers to munch on between meals.
  • Soybeans: Snack on roasted soybeans, rich in nutrients and a good source of high-quality protein to stave off hunger later.
  • Popcorn: Pop low-fat popcorn in the microwave.


  • Pasta: Switch from regular pasta and white rice to whole-wheat pasta and brown rice.
  • Veggies, meats and whole grains: Make vegetables and whole-grains the focus of the meal, with meat, fish or poultry as a side dish.
  • Pizza: On pizza night, be sure to pile on the veggies -- mushrooms, onions, red peppers, broccoli and tomatoes.

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