Dietary fiber

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Dietary fiber is a special bonus found only in plant foods. You can't get it from meat or fish or poultry or eggs or dairy foods.

Soluble dietary fiber, such as the pectins in apples and the gums in beans, mops up cholesterol and lowers your risk of heart disease. Insoluble dietary fiber, such as the cellulose in fruit skins, bulks up stool and prevents constipation, moving food more quickly through your gut so there's less time for food to create substances thought to trigger the growth of cancerous cells. (Turn to Chapter 4 to find out how much dietary fiber you need to get each day and to Chapter 8 to read everything you ever wanted to know about dietary fiber — maybe even more.)

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