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Fiber is like the dentist of the diet. You hate going to the dentist and you certainly don't like thinking about fiber.  But much like going to the dentist, you’re probably not going to think about fiber until something isn't moving and constipation sets in. If you’ve ever experienced the “hurt” of a dysfunctional digestive system, you know that life is much, much better when things are running the way that they should.

Dietary fiber is deeply linked to how your digestive system functions and should be a piece of your nutritional intake each day. If you’re eating whole foods, meeting your recommended daily intake of 25 to 30 grams of fiber should be easy. According to The Mayo Clinic, dietary fiber is found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes.

No matter your dietary restrictions, there is almost certainly an option for you to ingest your fiber through food.

Relief from constipation is just one positive impact of eating your daily fiber. According to The Mayo Clinic, fiber helps to maintain a healthy weight and lower your risk of diabetes and heart disease.

But there may be more to your digestive health than digestion. Science is also starting to suggest that the connection between your brain and your gut is much stronger than the feeling of butterflies when you’re nervous. Mark Hyman, MD as quoted by Experience Life found that in treating digestive problems in his patients, they experienced a reduction in symptoms in a variety of nervous-system illnesses “ranging from depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to dementia and Parkinson’s disease.”

If you’re experiencing the pains of a lack of dietary fiber, increasing your daily intake is a matter of planning and preparation. Start slow, and make a batch of this easy Asian Kale Salad to increase your daily intake. Then as you start to add more fiber into your diet, you can get creative with foods like lentils, fruit salads and quinoa based side dishes.

Here’s to your digestive health.

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