Get the Facts on Fibre
Did you know that most Canadians are only consuming half of the daily recommend intake of fibre in their diet? Adult women need 25 grams of fibre per day and men need 38 grams of fibre per day. Chances are most of us could use a little more fibre each day!
Fibre is a non-digestible carbohydrate found in plant foods. Fibre can be found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Fibre is an important part of a healthy diet and it plays many roles in the body including improving bowel regularity, lowering blood cholesterol levels, and helping us feel full longer.
There are two types of fibre in our diet: insoluble and soluble fibre. Insoluble fibre is found in the skins of vegetables and fruit and the bran portion of whole grains. Insoluble fibre helps promote regularity and a healthy digestive system. Soluble fibre can be found in some vegetables, fruit and legumes like dried beans and peas. When water is added to food, soluble fibre thickens and becomes a sticky gel texture which can help slow the digestion of food. Most fibre containing foods contain a mix of both insoluble and soluble.
Canadians can increase their fibre intake by eating a variety of fibre containing foods throughout the day. Fibre can be added to the diet by sprinkling a tablespoon of flax or chia seeds on cereal, yogurt and salads or by adding in an extra serving of fruit as an afternoon snack. Oatmeal is a great source of fibre; stick with the unsweetened, add a handful of fresh or frozen berries and a sprinkle of nuts or seeds for a fibre and nutrient-rich breakfast. Increasing fibre intake gradually, can keep you regular, make you feel fuller and help maintain a healthy weight. When increasing fibre intake, be sure to stay well hydrated and increase your intake slowly to allow your body to adjust to the change.
By following these tips on fibre, you can meet the daily recommend intake and increase the health of their digestive systems.
For information on the fibre content of a variety of foods, click here.
Written by Hilary Rock BSc, Nutrition
Reviewed by Andrea Miller MHSc, RD
Resources: Dietitians of Canada, Eat Right Ontario, Health Canada