Harvard Health Letter

Easy ways to fit more fiber into meals and snacks

Focus on whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables.


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Beans are an excellent source of ber. Try several kinds in a hearty chili.

Fiber is an increasingly valued part of our daily diet. Fiber helps fight constipation, obesity, and disease, and it curbs hunger. But is it realistic to fit enough into a daily diet to make a difference? "It's not as complicated as you think. It just takes a little planning," says registered dietitian Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Amounts and sources

The Institute of Medicine recommends that women ages 50 and older get 21 grams each day; men ages 50 and older should get 30 grams per day. McManus says some people may need a little more fiber, up to 35 grams per day. It just depends on the individual.

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