STEP 5: Make friends with fiber

It’s not hard to make friends with fiber if you follow steps 3 and 4, because they include plenty of fiber-rich foods. The Institutes of Medicine recommend the following daily fiber intake (soluble and insoluble) for adults: for men 19 to 50 years, 38 grams per day; older than 50 years, 30 grams. For women 19 to 50 years, 25 grams per day; older than 50 years, 21 grams. You can use the nutrition counter in the back of the site to help you identify how much fiber you are getting now and which foods can help you meet your goals if you fall short, as most Americans do.

The best sources of fiber are whole grains, legumes, beans, fruits and vegetables (with skins on when possible), nuts and seeds, and high-fiber cereals. If you need to increase your fiber intake, consider the following.

  • Add high-fiber foods gradually. If you eat 8 to 10 grams per day now, for example, increase to 13 to 15 grams for a few days, then add another 5 grams for several more days, until you reach your goal. Too rapid an increase may cause stomach upset, cramps, or bloating.
  • Increase your water intake as you increase your fiber to help your body adjust to the change and to prevent constipation.

Category: 10-step anti-aging diet