San Diego, California (NAPSI) - It may sound like a scientific breakthrough, but something that can help prevent heart disease, obesity and possibly cancer can easily be found in many of the foods already in your grocery store. It’s dietary fiber; certain substances that are not digested by the body.

Where To Find It

You can find fiber in fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and whole grains. Fiber is also added to many foods and beverages, including cereal, granola bars, yogurt, and bakery products. Many studies have demonstrated the same benefits from added fiber as the naturally occurring kind. Look for dietary fibers listed in the ingredients on food packages.

What They Do

These foods help your health by reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease, lowering cholesterol levels, maintaining normal blood sugar levels after eating, increasing satiety, helping maintain normal blood pressure, protecting against certain cancers and supporting the digestive system.

How Much Do You Need?

While the Daily Value for fiber shown on nutrition fact panels is currently 25 grams, the Institute of Medicine recommends consuming 14 grams of fiber daily for every 1,000 calories consumed. That means for an average 2,000-calorie daily diet, you should consume approximately 28 grams of fiber. Most adult women should consume at least 25 grams of fiber a day; men should consume at least 38 grams a day.

Nevertheless, according to U.S. Dietary Guidelines, most Americans consume only half the amount of dietary fiber they need on a daily basis.

How To Take It

If you’ve not been getting your recommended dietary fibers, you may want to increase your intake gradually to get your digestive system used to it. Doctors believe it’s best to eat a variety of types of dietary fiber every day, since all types of fiber are needed for the body to function well.

Who Can Tell You More?

For further information on fiber, visit www.fiberfacts.org.