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Go Foraging for Fibre

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Go Foraging for Fibre

Are you getting enough fibre? Do you know how much you need each day?

Are you getting enough fibre? Do you know how much you need each day?

The majority of North Americans consume only one-quarter to one-half of the US Institute of Medicine’s recommended fibre levels of 38 g per day for men and 25 g per day for women.

So what can we do to incorporate more fibre into our diets?

Know Your Fibres

There are two types of fibre important for health: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre forms a gel-like substance and works to increase the water content of stools. Soluble fibre also acts as a binding agent to help soak up toxins, excess blood cholesterol, and sugar, making it an important nutrient for the dietary management of high cholesterol and diabetes. Research also shows that consuming sufficient amounts of soluble fibre plays a role in satiety (the feeling of fullness), so may help with weight management. Soluble fibre is found in oats, barley, and legumes (peas, lentils, and beans) and in smaller amounts in fruits and vegetables.

Insoluble fibre is not digested at all but does give bulk to the stool. Insoluble fibre sweeps the colon, increases stool size, and helps relieve constipation and gas. Research shows the importance of insoluble fibre for improved digestion, bowel regularity, and prevention of disease. Insoluble fibre is found in wheat, bran, and whole grains and in smaller amounts in fruits and vegetables.

Start Roughing It

Bringing your diet back to the basics is the best way to achieve adequate fibre intake. Consuming raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and other seeds and legumes is a great way to increase the fibre content of your diet.

It’s Easy to Add More Fibre to Your Diet

  1. Start the day with whole grains; try old-fashioned or steel-cut oats or barley.
  2. Use whole grain breads for lunch or snacks. Check the label to make sure whole wheat or another whole grain is the first ingredient listed.
  3. Add ground flaxseeds to cereal, smoothies, yogourt, salads, casseroles, and pasta sauce.
  4. Include beans, legumes, and lentils in chili, soups, and salad.
  5. Limit your consumption of processed, refined, starchy foods that are low in fibre.
  6. Eat whole fruits.
  7. Replace white rice, bread, and pasta with brown rice and whole grain products.
  8. Snack on raw vegetables.
  9. Substitute legumes for meat two to three times per week.
  10. If your diet is still falling short on fibre, try adding a fibre supplement to your regimen.
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