6 Ways to Get Your Fiber Boost

It's no secret that fiber is essential, possibly reducing the risk of heart disease and diabetes, as well as helping us keep our appetites—and waistlines—in check. The mystery seems to be how to get enough of it. Most women consume only half the recommended 21 to 25 g daily. Try these six options for something jazzier than brown rice.

SPIKE SMOOTHIES WITH CHOCOLATE

A tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder has 2 g of fiber, plus it contains less saturated fat than dark chocolate bars and none of the added sugars.

TOSS MUSHROOMS INTO SOUP

Rehydrate dried shiitakes in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes, then chop and add to your favorite soup for 3 g of fiber per ounce, plus lentinan, a compound that may have anticancer properties.

ADD EDAMAME TO STIR-FRIES

Brimming with folate, a B vitamin that may protect women from pancreatic cancer, and 4 g of fiber per ? cup, boiled soybeans complement any Asian flavor.

MIX OATS INTO MEAT LOAF

Instead of nutritionally inferior bread crumbs, use 2/3 cup rolled oats per pound of meat as a binding agent. In addition to 5.5 g of fiber, they contain magnesium, a mineral that may slash diabetes risk.

MAKE PUMPKIN-PIE OATMEAL

Combine 1/3 cup canned pumpkin, 1 cup oatmeal, 1 to 2 teaspoons brown sugar, and spices of your choice, like cinnamon, nutmeg, or pumpkin pie spice. The pumpkin adds nearly 2.5 g of fiber and loads of immunity-boosting vitamin A.

SPRINKLE WHEAT GERM INTO PANCAKES

Rich in selenium, which could cut skin cancer incidence by about 60 percent, ? cup of wheat germ packs 4 g of fiber. Add it to any batter recipe.

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