Fiber, roughage, bran, plant bulk ... whatever you call it, we know it's important to health. Dietary fiber has been shown to protect us from cancer (especially colon cancer) , heart disease, bowel disease, including constipation and diverticulosis, and obesity. It may also help to reduce blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
You should eat between 25 and 30 grams of fiber each day to gain these health benefits. Most Americans consume only 10 to 12 grams a day. A few small changes could help alter that dramatically.
Fiber is found only in plant foods. Fruits and vegetables are a good source of fiber, especially if you eat them fresh with the skin on. Fiber is also found in whole-grain breads and cereals. You must read the ingredient list on the food label to make sure it says "whole grain". Otherwise, you may be consuming brown coloring without any additional fiber.
Beans and other legumes are an excellent and inexpensive source of fiber. Food labels also list fiber content. Foods with more than 4 grams of fiber are considered to be good sources.
The easiest way for most of us to get more fiber in our diets is to eat a high-fiber cereal for breakfast each morning. Products such as Fiber One and All Bran provide up to 13 grams of fiber in a single serving. If they aren't tasty enough, you can always combine them with your favorite cereal.
There's especially one tip in your post-about checking the label to make sure it reads "whole grain"-that's very important and useful. When starting to improve my eating habits, I did not know to look for that at first. For people out there looking to replace white flour with wheat and whole grains for the benefits it provides, this is good information to have.