ber! The word alone may make you think about constipation commercials. But it’s an important thing that we all need in our diets—and now, new research is suggesting that eating enough of it may help boost heart health and even provide extra protection from diseases.
New findings published on BMJ.com found that heart attack survivors who ate the most fiber had a 25 percent lower chance of dying nine years later, as opposed to people who ate less. And for every extra 10 grams of fiber consumed each day was linked to a 15 percent lower risk of dying over the study period, on average.
But the study also suggests that fiber may help protect against other conditions—mostly, because the people who were studied seemed to have lower risks of dying from any cause, not just those related to their heart. It could also help lower the risk of colon cancer, regulate blood sugar levels, and maybe even combat obesity (since eating fiber makes you feel fuller, lowering the chances you’ll overeat).
Adult women under the age of 50 should aim to incorporate about 25 grams of fiber into their diets. And you probably already know one of the top natural sources of fiber: beans! (Remember? “Beans, beans, good for the heart, the more you eat, the more you”…well, you know.) Just about every bean you can name—lima beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, pinto beans, soybeans—are fantastic sources of fiber (one cup can contain anywhere from 7 to 19 grams of the stuff).
But there are other ways to get your fiber fill too—and some of them are a little surprising!
Almonds: One-quarter of a cup of these tasty nuts packs 5 grams fiber.
Artichokes: One medium artichoke contains 7 grams fiber (I mean…who knew?).
Raspberries: One cup of fresh raspberries (yum) delivers 8 grams fiber.
Blackberries: Like its raspberry brethren, one cup of fresh blackberries also has 8 grams fiber.
Canned pumpkin: A cup of cooked, packed pumpkin contains 7 grams fiber.
Originally published on Glamour