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How Much Healthy Fiber Do You Need?

Experts say that Americans generally get about half of the fiber they need.

  • Most women and adolescent girls should get about 25 grams of total fiber -- soluble and insoluble combined.
  • Women aged 50 and older should get 21 grams.
  • Most men and teenage boys need 38 grams of fiber daily.
  • Men aged 50 and older should get about 30 grams.
  • Children four to eight years old should get 25 grams a day.
  • Toddlers one to three years old should get 19 grams.

Tips to Get More Fiber in Your Diet

Eat more fruits and vegetables. Experts say that you should eat at least 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables each day.

Eat more whole grains. When grains are refined, the fiber is removed. Opt for whole grains when you can. Oatmeal, barley, and brown rice are all good options. You can also add high-fiber bran to many foods, from cereal to meatloaf.

Check the labels. Before you add a food to your shopping cart, check the amount of healthy fiber on the nutrition label. Try to choose items with five grams or more of fiber per serving.

Drink water. If you're adding more healthy fiber to your diet, add more water too, Tappenden says. Without enough water, the extra amounts of some fiber can increase the risk of constipation.

Go slowly. If you want to add more healthy fiber, do it gradually. Don't go overboard and double your intake overnight. That is bound to leave you feeling wretched, bloated, and crampy. Instead, increase your healthy fiber over several weeks.

Consider a supplement. Although experts say it's best to get fiber through whole foods, taking a supplement can fill in the gap if your meals don’t give you the recommended amounts of fiber. Don't pick a fiber supplement off the shelf at random. Get advice from a doctor first. Different supplement brands contain different types of fiber, and the best one for you depends on your particular needs.

High-Fiber Super Foods

From fruits to nuts, see the best source of fiber in natural foods.
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Dietary Fiber Poll

What provides most of your fiber?

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