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Three studies highlight the importance of getting enough fiber

Category: General Health

Often, doing a few simple things can drastically improve a person's health. For example, getting regular blood tests to help determine cholesterol levels, exercising on a regular basis and avoiding junk foods are all simple ways to get healthy. According to recent studies conducted by scientists from the University of Minnesota, Iowa State University and Purdue University, getting the recommended about of fiber each day could be another easy way that individuals can boost their overall well-being.

It's important for Americans to take note of these findings, since the Today show spoke to Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D., the founder and director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Weight Management Center, who said that the majority of Americans get 14 grams of fiber a day or less, when the recommended amount is 20 to 38.

Fiber has many benefits
The first of these three studies, conducted by researchers from the University of Minnesota, found that people who increased the amount of fiber in their diets experienced improvements in the health of their bowels.

The second study, from Iowa State University, set out to determine how fiber can help keep people feeling more satisfied after a meal. The researchers examined more than 40 adults and gave them a meal that included a beverage that either had fiber in it, or one that did not. They found that the individuals who consumed the drink that contained fiber reported that they felt fuller and had less desire to eat hours after consuming the meal than those who drank the other beverage. This suggests that people who are trying to lose weight may want to consume more fiber to help keep them from snacking between meals.

The final study, from researchers at Purdue University, found that adolescents who consumed fiber experienced improved calcium absorption in their bodies over those who did not. Calcium is crucial to keeping the bones and teeth strong, so it's particularly important for young people who are still growing.

Clearly, there are many benefits to consuming more fiber, and people may want to start keeping track of how much they eat each day.

Fernstrom recommended on the Today show that people who want to eat more fiber should start by consuming more bran, whole grain, fruits and vegetables. Chick peas, kidney beans and baked beans are good sources of fiber as well.

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