The new science showing fiber is crucial for lowering inflammation

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You probably already know that fiber is pretty essential for keeping your digestive track in check. But its good-for-you benefits don’t stop at keeping things, er, moving. According to new research, the nutrient can help lower inflammation, too. As the New York Times so aptly put, people who eat high-fiber diets have lower odds of dying.

According to Fredrik Bäckhed, a biologist at University of Gothenburg in Sweden, his team of scientists have found that the good bacteria in the gut feeds off of fiber. And when your microbiome is healthy, it’s a good indicator that the rest of your body is, too. The Times also reports on a separate study in the journal Cell Host and Microbe, which found that mice on a low-fiber diet didn’t have as high of a population of good bacteria in their gut as their fruit- and veggie-eating counterparts.

Here’s where the inflammation-fighting properties come in: When the microbiome is populated with good bacteria, it boosts the immune system, helping fight infections ranging from the common cold to more serious ailments, such as immune disorders and IBS. So you definitely want to make sure you’re feeding ’em plenty of fiber. Yet another reason to pile more fruits, vegetables, lentils, and grains on your plate. Quinoa bowl for dinner anyone?

Now that you’re motivated, here are some recipes to help you get your fiber fix. And if you have salad fatigue, switch up your go-to with one of these influencer-approved mixes

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