Fiber helps to keep you regular as well as lose weight and stabilize blood sugar. Yet, most of us aren’t eating nearly enough.

Fiber, a type of carbohydrate found mostly in plant-based foods, is a key nutrient for regulating and supporting many of the body’s important processes. It not only supports digestive health and bowel regularity, but also helps to maintain heart health by regulating blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Fiber further keeps you heart healthy by helping you achieve a healthy weight.

The Institute of Medicine recommends a minimum of 25 grams of fiber per day for women and 35 grams per day for men – yet the average American consumes a meager 15 grams of fiber per day. With so many health benefits, it’s important to boost your fiber intake and take full advantage of this tummy-filling nutrient.

6 Simple Ways to Eat More Fiber

1. Eat whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juice.

2. Add vegetables to your favorite dishes. For example, sauté vegetables such as onions, mushrooms and spinach and add them to your pasta sauce. Throw peppers and tomatoes into your eggs in the morning. This can add up to 5 grams of   fiber to your meal in one easy step.

3. Always add fruit to your favorite breakfast or snack item – for example, add fresh strawberries to your plain yogurt, or toss blueberries into your pancake mix.

4. Substitute whole-grain versions for plain white bread, rice and pasta products.

5. Snack on raw veggies instead of chips or pretzels.

6. Substitute beans for meat in your meals 1-2 times per week. Remember, beans are not only packed with fiber, but protein too.