Think about what you ate for breakfast this morning or that quick lunch you grabbed on the go. Are you getting enough fiber in your daily diet? Leading experts recommend consuming between 20 and 35 grams daily for better digestion and health, but many Americans fall far short of that goal. In case you need another reason to bulk up on fiber, let’s talk inflammation.
Scientists have discovered recently that a diet high in fiber may help reduce inflammation. Why is this important? While typically associated with a reaction outside the body (such as a rash or an inflamed cut or scrape), inflammation also refers to a wide range of immune functions occurring inside the body that protect us from illness and disease. Most immune responses last only a few days, such as when you are fighting a cold, but when your immune system is out of balance, inflammation can persist and contribute to a host of chronic conditions that can impact your physical and mental health.
Recent data has shown that people who follow a high-fiber diet have lower blood levels of certain chemicals that indicate the presence of inflammation in the body, suggesting that fiber has a positive effect on our natural immune response and may help support a balanced immune system. Based on this information, experts recommend getting plenty of fiber in the diet.
Some of the best sources of dietary fiber are low-sugar fruits such as fresh berries, grapefruit, kiwi, plums, tomatoes, and apricots. Non-starchy veggies such as leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli, cucumber, and peppers are also a great way to add more fiber to your diet, and the summer months are a perfect time to bring more fresh produce to the table.