You’ve likely heard (and seen) quite a bit lately on a “miracle” substance that is proven to foster weight loss, improve gastrointestinal health, protect the heart, and even guard against cancer.  Food manufacturers are boosting it in their products (and proudly displaying it on the labels), TV commercials exposing taut tummies urge you to get more by whirling it into juice or water, and a recent book suggests getting 35 grams every day is the key to losing weight and staying healthy for life.

What is this miracle substance? Fiber!

Although devoid of calories, this “non-nutritional vital nutrient”, is anything but lacking when it comes to your health. And new research shows yet another way roughage (as mom calls it) can help prevent one of the major causes of chronic disease—inflammation.

Fiber Reduces Inflammation

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined the relationship between C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation and a predictor of future heart disease and diabetes, with dietary fiber. The study evaluated the body composition, CRP, diet and physical activity of 524 people. At the end of the study, researchers found CRP levels in the body were inversely associated with the total fiber in the diet.

Tastiest Sources of Healthy Fiber

Fiber doesn’t have to taste bland and boring. You can  to keep inflammation down.  For maximum benefit, get a variety of low-glycemic plant-based foods that provide both fiber like:

  • Cabbage family veggies: Including Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower
  • Chia seeds: Providing a whopping 10 grams of fiber per ounce
  • Organic cocoa powder: Two tablespoons provides 4 grams of fiber. As if you needed and excuse to make a low glycemic, fiber-rich healthy dessert!
  • Sweet Potatoes: With the skin, a sweet potato provides 3.8 grams of fiber
  • Pumpkin: Packed with antioxidants, pumpkin provides 3.6 grams of fiber per half cup
  • Almonds: This tasty snack provides 3.5 g of fiber per ounce
  • Artichokes:  Fiber-rich artichokes contain 7 grams of fiber per serving
  • Berries:  Including raspberries and blackberries (with 4 grams per serving), as well as cherries and strawberries (which have potent inflammation-fighting benefits)
  • Apple and pears : While rich in fiber, enjoy in moderation – they are high in sugar which increases inflammation