Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Food & Recipes

Font Size

Fiber: Give Yourself a Fresh Start for Health

Just a few changes of habit can give a big boost to your diet's fiber profile.
By
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

We hear it on all fronts: We need more fiber in our daily diet. The questions for most of us: How much do I need, and exactly how do I get it?

If you think the answers involve unreachable goals and endless raw veggies, fear not. Boosting your dietary fiber is as easy as acquiring a few simple habits and as delicious as eating the meals you already love.

How Much Fiber Do You Need?

The American Dietetic Association describes fiber as complex carbohydrates your body can't digest or absorb and names two types: soluble and insoluble fiber.

Soluble fiber -- found in beans, fruits, and more -- aids in satiety (helping you feel full). Insoluble fiber -- found in wheat bran, whole grains, nuts, vegetables, and other foods -- helps keep your digestive system regular.

According to the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine, the daily needs of men and women for fiber differ, and change as they age:

  • Age 50 and younger
    • Women: 25 grams
    • Men: 38 grams
  • Age 51 and older
    • Women: 21 grams
    • Men: 30 grams

As for how to get those grams into your diet, the experts have easy-to-implement ideas. To raise your daily fiber intake, try one of these fiber-increasing habits each week, until they're automatic. However, to avoid diarrhea and other complications, increase your fiber by a few grams each week over the course of several weeks.

6 Tips for a Fresh Start With Fiber

Get the Breakfast Boost: Wake up to a nutritious high-fiber breakfast -- one with 5 or more grams of fiber per serving. You'll meet nearly 15% to 25% of your daily fiber needs. Plus, it's a great way to manage your weight.

Become a Topper: While enjoying cereal, a whole-wheat bagel, or oatmeal, don't forget the fiber-filled toppers: bananas (3.1 grams each), blackberries (about 3.8 grams per 1/2 cup), or hummus (2 tablespoons has 1.6 grams) are all delicious additions.

Learn to Love Labels: A food label can say it's "a good source" of fiber if it contributes 10% of your daily value of fiber -- about 2.5 grams. The package can claims it's "rich in," "high in" or an "excellent source of" fiber, if the product provides 5 grams of fiber per serving. So read up.

Enjoy Fruity Snack Attacks: When you feel the urge for a snack, be sure you have fresh or dried fruit on hand for a quick bite. A half cup of fresh raspberries is packed with 4 grams of fiber, a papaya with 5.5 grams, and five rings of dried apples has almost 3 grams of fiber.

Peels Are a Plus: Get all the fiber from the fruits and vegetables you enjoy by leaving the peels on. If you're worried about dirt and pesticides, rinse your produce in warm water before eating. Remember, whole foods have more fiber than juices, which lack the fiber-filled skin and membranes.

Today on WebMD

Four spoons with mustards
What condiments are made of and how much to use.
salmon and spinach
How to get what you need.
 
grilled veggies
Easy ideas for dinner tonight.
Greek Salad
Health benefits, what you can eat and more.
 

WebMD Recipe Finder

Browse our collection of healthy, delicious recipes, from WebMD and Eating Well magazine.



bread
Recipes
soup
Recipes
 
roasted chicken
Recipes
Flaxseed added fiber
Video
 
vegetarian sandwich
Recipes
fresh vegetables
Recipes
 
smoothie
fitArticle
Foods To Boost Mens Heath Slideshow
Slideshow