Consumer Reports: Fiber-rich diets can help you stay healthier

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- If you made a New Year's resolution to improve your health or lose weight, there's one trick that can help. Experts say to simply eat more fiber.

We know fiber has a lot of health benefits. Consumer Reports says eating more fiber could even help you look and feel *younger.

In the battle against aging, an often-overlooked ingredient to staying healthy and living longer may be the fiber that's locked in this little bean. In a 2016 study, older people who ate fiber-rich diets were 80 percent more likely to live longer and stay healthier than those who didn't.

How much do you need? Aim for 25 to 30 grams per day. With foods like foods like beans, vegetables, fruit, nuts and whole grains, fiber can work its anti-aging magic.

"Fiber helps your health in so many ways. It can protect against type-2 diabetes. It helps to lower cholesterol levels. It helps in weight control because it helps you feel full. And, of course, it helps your digestive system run smoothly," said Patricia Calvo, Consumer Reports Health Editor.

But if you're worried about side effects from eating more fiber, just be sure to take it easy at first.

"You shouldn't go from very little fiber to a lot of fiber all at once. Instead, take small steps, just a couple of things a day. For example, you can take regular cereal and high fiber cereal and combine it. Or, you can have an apple or a handful of nuts, instead of chips as a snack. Or you can add oatmeal to your smoothie. There are a lot of small ways to increase your fiber intake," suggests Calvo.

So as you increase your fiber, do it gradually and at the same time, make sure you are drinking more water to go along with it.

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