Fibre is an important part of a healthy diet. Fibre is found in plant based foods such as whole grains, cereals, vegetables and fruit and legumes (peas, beans, lentils). The two types of fibre, insoluble and soluble, have different health benefits. Eating a variety of foods from the four Food Groups in Canada’s Food Guide will help you to get enough of both kinds of fibre.
Insoluble fibre comes from vegetables, fruit, whole grains and bran. This type of fibre is not broken down by the body and helps to keep your bowels regular. Eating insoluble fibre on a regular basis may help to decrease your risk of colon cancer.
Soluble fibre comes from vegetables, fruit, legumes, and oats. Soluble fibre gels in the body and helps to slow down digestion, leading to better blood sugar control. This type of fibre can also help to lower blood cholesterol levels.
Eating a variety of foods everyday can help you get enough fibre in your diet to meet the recommendations. Experts tell us we should aim for 25 grams (women) or 38 grams (men) each day.
How can we do that?
| • Eat whole grains instead of refined grains, and considering this in baked goods as well. Check out these recipes for oatmeal muffins and whole wheat biscuits.
• Eat whole fruit and vegetables more often than juice
• Eat vegetables and fruit with the peel, if appropriate (make sure to wash first)
• Add barley, beans, peas or lentils to soups, stews and casseroles
• Choose crackers, bread and other grain products with at least of 2 grams of fibre per serving and cereals with at least 4 grams of fibre per serving
• Increase fibre gradually to avoid gas, bloating and diarrhea
• Increase fluids (e.g. water, milk, and 100% juice) as you increase your fibre intake
Source: Health Canada & Dietitians of Canada, “Healthy Eating Guidelines for Increasing Your Fibre Intake”.