How much fiber do I need?

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Your fiber needs will vary based on your age and gender. However, everybody still needs fiber and, in general, most people aren’t getting enough.

Men age 50 or younger need 35 grams a day; women age 50 or younger need 25 grams a day.

Over age 51, the daily requirement drops a bit; men need 30 grams and women need 20 grams daily.

When you consider that the average American only gets around 15 grams of fiber every day, you probably have some room for improvement, so here are some simple suggestions to help you increase your fiber intake:

  • Eat more beans and nuts. Beans are easy to add to soups and stews; nuts can be tossed onto a salad and make a great snack.
  • Keep frozen berries handy. They’re great for tossing into smoothies and on top of cereal.
  • Eat whole-grain bread and pasta instead of white bread and semolina pasta.
  • Eat a higher-fiber breakfast cereal. Look for one with at least 4 grams per serving and no added sugar. A lot of tasty choices qualify, not just the “Colon Blow” cereals.
  • Fruits and vegetables, particularly if you eat the peel whenever possible.

Adding high-fiber foods to your diet has another valuable benefit: All those fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans and so on are rich in other nutrients beyond fiber. You’ll be boosting your intake of vital nutrients as you boost your fiber!

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