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Improve your diet: Eat lots of fiber

Fiber

One of the best things you can do for your overall health is to eat more fiber-rich foods.

Eating more fiber in your diet from fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and whole grains helps prevent an array of serious illnesses – from heart disease to colon cancer. A side benefit is that eating a fiber-rich diet can actually help you lose weight over time.

One of the reasons people in the Mediterranean tend to be healthier and live longer than Americans is that their diet is rich in fiber from fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and whole grains. They eat meat but usually only once a week or even just a few times a month, depending on where they live in the Mediterranean region.

A simple way to add more fiber to your diet is to begin each day with a bowl of oatmeal, fruit and nuts. You can use either fresh fruit or frozen fruit. You can then add a sprinkling of walnuts or almonds and a dash of honey if you want it a little sweet.

For lunch and dinner, try to eat more salads and vegetarian dishes, particularly ones with beans as the main protein and brown rice or other whole grains as the starch. Once you try this type of diet, I think you’ll find it helps you feel better – and it could help you start to slowly lose weight.

Eating more fiber also has the benefit of improving your gastrointestinal health. As a surgeon, one of the most common operations I perform is removing diseased gallbladders from patients suffering from gallstones.

An estimated 20 million Americans have gallstones, which are caused by cholesterol and eating a fatty diet.

About Kyle Vincent MD

I am a surgeon with Via Christi Clinic at Founders' Circle in Wichita, Kan.