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Fiber has a reputation for keeping you regular. But
its health perks go beyond better digestion. Higher-fiber
diets have been linked to lower cholesterol and blood
pressure, a reduced risk for heart disease, and even
cancer prevention.
In a new research review, scientists compiled the results
of eight previous studies of fiber’s effects on stroke risk.
For every 7 grams of fiber participants consumed each
day—about the amount in a half-cup of black beans—
their chances of having a stroke dropped 7 percent.
Protection for Your Heart and Brain
High blood pressure and high cholesterol raise stroke
risk. So, fiber’s beneficial effects on both could help
explain the link, note the study authors
in their report in the
Stroke
journal.
What’s more, high-fiber foods keep you
full longer. You’ll likely eat less and avoid
extra calories that can add up to weight
gain. And maintaining a healthy weight
has been shown to lower the risk for
strokes, along with heart disease and
many other health conditions.
Fill Up with These High-Fiber Options
Most Americans fall behind on their daily fiber intakes.
Women need 21 to 25 grams per day but usually consume
only 13 grams. Men, on the other hand, average 17 grams
per day but should aim for 30 to 38 grams.
To bulk up your fiber intake:
Eat 2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables per
day. Beans, sweet potatoes, and berries are close
to the top of the list of high-fiber choices.
Skip refined grains and eat whole grains when you
can. Choose whole wheat bread, brown rice
and oatmeal.
Check food labels. Choose items with 5 grams
of fiber or more per serving.
For more ideas on fitting fiber into your diet, visit
from which you can download tip sheets on fruits,
veggies and whole grains.
Parents and grandparents can help children develop
healthy dietary habits at a young age, including giving
them tasty fiber-rich meals and snacks. Rebecca Lozman,
DNP, CPNP, MPH of New London Pediatric Care Center
suggests natural fibers like whole
grains instead of white starches, as well
as dried and fresh fruits, and vegetables.
For children and teenagers, Lozman
recommends five servings of fruits and
vegetables a day.
Children are more likely to enjoy foods
that they help prepare! Picking fruits
and vegetables and assisting in age-
appropriate ways in the kitchen can
help children enjoy eating their fruits and veggies. Two
year-olds can pitch in by rinsing fruits and vegetables, or
making fun shapes out of them on a plate. Three year-
olds can mash, scoop and mix. Four year-olds can help
measure dry ingredients and peel fruits and vegetables.
Five year-olds are able to measure liquid and dry
ingredients and do all the other things that 2, 3, and 4
year-olds can do!
Eat More Fiber to Reduce Stroke Risk
Children are more
likely to enjoy
foods that they
help prepare!