As we age we all become painfully aware the importance fiber plays in our diets. If you have ever suffered from constipation you know exactly what I am talking about! And even if that is not a problem for you, you certainly know that a diet high in fiber has many health benefits from decreased colon cancer risk to help reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease. 

The Mayo Clinic recommends that Women's diets should have 21 to 25 grams of fiber a day and Men's 30 to 38 grams of fiber a day. [3045]Sure you can increase your consumption of whole grains but did you know that one slice of whole wheat or multi grain bread only equals 1.9 grams of fiber? You'd have to eat practically a whole loaf a day to meet the recommended amount!

Here are the five fastest ways I have found to increase my fiber intake while keeping myself, my digestive track and my doctor happy:

Embrace Bran. There are so many products on the market that have rich sources of bran in them. Cereals like Bran Buds are the yummiest way to add this not so popular food to your day. Simply add some to your yogurt in the morning or on top of your favorite salad for some delicious crunch. One third of a cup is equal to 13 grams of fiber! Also, I found that bloating is not an issue when eating bran buds like with most of the fiber bars on the market. Bran flake cereals are good too with 3/4 of a cup equaling 5.3 grams of fiber.

Find the Fruit. Not all fruits are made equal and certainly not within all price budgets. Try to buy what is in season and focus upon these fabulous four:

  • Apples: one medium with skin equals 4.4 grams of fiber
  • Bananas: one medium equals 3.1 grams of fiber
  • Raspberries: one cup equals 8.0 grams of fiber
  • Strawberries: one cup of halves equals 3.8 grams of fiber
Be a Savoy Snacker. You know you're going to grab for a snack come that mid-afternoon slump so why not make it guilt free and one that fills you up! Nuts are a great choice for these times. So get munching and crunching:
  • Almonds: one ounce (23 nuts) equals 3.5 grams of fiber
  • Pecan halves: one ounce (19 nuts) equals 2.7 grams of fiber
  • Pistachios: one ounce (49 nuts) equals 2.9 grams of fiber 
  • Sunflower seeds: 1/4 cup equals 3.9 grams of fiber
Very Vegan. It's easy being green when it comes to veggies that not only taste good but also add that fabulous fiber to your diet. Your best choices for going green are:
  • Artichokes (cooked): one medium equals 10.3 grams of fiber
  • Broccoli: one cup equals 5.0 grams of fiber
  • Brussel sprouts: one cup equals 4.1 grams of fiber
  • Peas (cooked): one cup equals 8.8 grams of fiber

Eat at Chipotle. OK, so I just like justifying reasons to eat out at my favorite fast food places! Seriously though, you can find fiber in even the most unlikely places. Take the burrito bowl for example. Get it with brown rice (one cup equals 3.5 grams of fiber) black beans (one cup equals 15.0 grams of fiber) and the corn salsa (one cup equals 4.2 grams of fiber). How easy is that?! Maybe just skip the sour cream to help keep the calorie count down. 

Fiber, it's not a four letter word! Follow these steps and increase your intake today. You'll feel fuller faster and your digestive track will thank you for helping it function more effectively. You might actually look forward to that Colonoscopy!