Are you getting enough?

If you are like most Canadians, you’re likely not getting enough fibre in your diet: Canadians average about 14g per day.  That’s much less than the Daily Recommendation for people 9 years & older is 25-38g/day (4-8 years: 25g/day, 1-3 years: 19g/day.

Fibre and its many hats

–       Digestion: Helps keep the digestive tract regular and alleviates constipation.

–       Cancer: A high fibre diet may decrease risk of colon cancer.

–       Heart Health: It may decrease cholesterol levels by acting like a sponge, absorbing and removing cholesterol from the body.

–       Diabetes control:  Fibre slows down the release of sugar in foods decreasing spikes in blood sugar. It also absorbs extra sugar and takes it out of the body instead of to the blood.

–       Weight control & fullness: Fibre expands and takes up more space in the stomach, as well as, slows down the digestion of food helping you feel full longer.

There are 2 types of fibre: Soluble fibre may help lower cholesterol and control blood sugars. Food sources include: whole grains, oats, barley, psyllium, legumes (kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc), vegetables and fruit. Insoluble fibre adds bulk and roughage for bowl regularity and decreased hunger. Foods high in insoluble fibre include: whole grains, bran, the skin of fruits and vegetables.

Increase your fibre intake slowly to avoid bloating, gas and cramping. Make sure to drink plenty of water (1-2L/day) to avoid constipation.

Tips to increase your fibre

–       Read labels, choose high fibre. A 16% Daily Value or more per serving is a HIGH source of fibre.

–       Add high fibre cereal to your day. Look for cereals with at least 6g per serving.

–       Choose 100% whole wheat or 100% whole grain breads and pastas. Go for brown rice, whole wheat couscous and quinoa.

–       Eat more fruits and vegetables. Eat the peel when you can and choose the fruit over juice. Fill half your plate with vegetables, add berries to your cereal and yogurt, snack on fruit and vegetables.

–        Add wheat bran, psyllium husk or ground flax to your baking, hot cereal and yogurt.

–       Incorporate legumes. Enjoy chickpeas over a salad, dried beans in your casseroles, soups and chilli, hummus with vegetable sticks or as a spread.