Turns out, fiber isn’t just good for your G.I. system—it can affect your entire body and may keep life-threatening conditions at bay. In a pair of studies in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, mice that were fed a very low-fiber diet had increased risk for health issues like high blood sugar and insulin resistance. The researchers’ explanation for the fiber factor: Beneficial bacteria feed off the nutrient, so when they starve, the bacterial imbalance leads to low-grade inflammation and its associated metabolic ills. What’s worse, chronic inflammation has also been linked to a higher risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Inspired to up your fiber intake (and you should be, since, on average, we get only 16 of the recommended 25 daily grams)? Eat produce at every meal—berries, apples, and green veggies are particularly fiber-rich choices. Also eat legumes at least five times a week. With roughly 15 grams of fiber per cup, lentils, black beans, split peas, and chickpeas can benefit every fiber of your being.


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