Fiber's main role in your body is to aid digestion and remove waste products. Getting enough fiber is crucial, as a high fiber intake helps maintain bowel health, lowers your cholesterol and helps manage blood sugar levels, according to MayoClinic.com. To ensure you're getting enough fiber each day, aim for specific numbers, or use calculations to help hit your targets.
1 Set yourself a basic minimum daily fiber intake. The Harvard School of Public Health recommends aiming for at least 20 grams daily. This is a good starting point if you're not used to tracking your fiber intake or have been eating a low-fiber diet. Get used to consuming this much fiber consistently before progressing to the next stage.
2 Aim for the minimum daily fiber intake as set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recommends women between 19 and 30 consume at least 28 grams of fiber per day, women from 31 to 50 consume at least 25 grams each day and women 51 and older get a minimum of 22 grams daily.
3 Calculate how many calories you should be eating each day. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's guidelines state that to maintain weight, women need between 1,600 and 2,400 calories daily, although this depends on a number of factors, such as weight, age and activity levels. Generally, the younger, heavier or more active you are, the more calories you need and vice versa.
4 Consume 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories you consume. This is the most accurate method for calculating your fiber intake, as advised by the American Heart Association, as it takes into account your current calorie intake. If you're currently eating 1,600 calories daily, that means shooting for 22.4 grams of fiber daily, while for a woman on 2,400 calories, it equates to 33.6 grams of fiber.
- Get your fiber from a wide variety of foods such as whole-grain breads, pasta and wraps, brown rice, beans, fruits and vegetables.
- Check with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or fiber intake.
- Increase your fluid intake as you boost fiber consumption.
- MayoClinic.com: Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet
- Harvard School of Public Health: Fiber
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Nutrition for Everyone: Carbohydrates
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010
- American Heart Association: Fiber and Children's Diets
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