How to Start a High Fiber Diet

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Spend more time in the produce section of your grocery store.
Spend more time in the produce section of your grocery store. (Image: vegetables image by cherie from Fotolia.com)

The average American eats about 5 to 13 grams of fiber per day, yet nutritionists recommend consuming 25 to 35 grams of fiber daily. A diet high in fiber has many health benefits, including helping to prevent diseases and conditions such as diabetes, Crohn's disease and irritable bowel syndrome. Fiber also helps reduce constipation, hypertension and hemorrhoids. Incorporate more fiber into your diet by consuming more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

Research the amount of fiber you should consume each day, based on your age and gender. For example, men aged 50 or younger should eat at least 38 grams of fiber per day, while women aged 50 or younger should eat at least 25 grams of fiber per day, according to Family Doctor.org.

Start slowly. Converting to a high fiber diet can initially result in cramping, bloating and gas. Avoid this by slowly incorporating more fiber into your diet and drinking more water and other fluids, such as eight glasses per day, which helps the body digest fiber.

Eat at least 2 1/2 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit each day, to increase the amount of fiber in your diet. Vegetables and fruits high in fiber include: kidney beans, a half-cup of which equals 8.2 grams of fiber; sweet potatoes, as a medium sweet potato equals 4.8 grams of fiber; and spinach, a half-cup of which equals 3.5 grams of fiber. Other high-fiber fruits and vegetables include artichokes, pinto beans, pears, green peas, prunes, blackberries, raspberries, figs and dates.

Switch from white bread, sugary cereals and white rice, to whole grain breads and cereals and brown rice. According to Family Doctor.org, you should consume more oatmeal, bran or multi-gran cereals, bran muffins and popcorn, in addition to whole-wheat bread and brown rice.

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