Food Fiber Portion
Banana 2 g 1 medium
Orange 2 g 1 medium
(with skin)
3 g 1 medium
Strawberries 4 g 1 cup
Carrot 2 g 1 cup
Whole wheat bread 2 g 1 slice
Oatmeal 3 g 3/4 cup, cooked
Lentils 4 g 1/2 cup, cooked
Green peas 4 g 2/3 cup, cooked
Bran cereal 8 g 3/4 cup

branMore good news for bran eaters: A recent study suggests that increasing your fiber intake can reduce the likelihood of cardiovascular disease even more than a low-fat diet (Journal of the American Medical Association, 1999, vol. 282). The study noted that "in comparison with fiber, intake of fat, carbohydrate and protein had inconsistent or weak associations with all [heart disease] risk factors."

A high-fiber diet—the American Dietetic Association recommends an intake of 20­35 grams per day, plus increased liquids for proper digestion—will make you feel full sooner, so you're less likely to overeat and become overweight, a significant factor in heart disease risk. In addition, overproduction of insulin may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease by altering the makeup of fat-storing connective tissue. When fiber intake is high less insulin is produced by the body.

Photography by: Rita Maas