Dietary fibre comes from plant foods. There are two types: soluble and insoluble fibre. Most fibre containing foods have a mix of both.
- 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, grains and legumes such as dried beans and peas. When water is added to a food the soluble fibre thickens and becomes sticky, gummy and gel like. Soluble fibre can help slow the digestion of food.
Soluble fibre helps to:
- Lower blood cholesterol levels. Aim for at least 10 grams (g) of soluble fibre every day.
- Control blood glucose (sugar) levels. This is helpful if you have diabetes or if you suffer from hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar)
- Manage diarrhoea and loose stools
- Reduce some of the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Reduce the risk of getting intestinal ulcers
- Have a healthier colon by increasing the amount of healthy bacteria
- Eat at least six servings of whole grain products every day. Examples include rolled oats, barley, brown rice, quinoa and whole wheat breads, breakfast cereals and pasta.
- Use whole grain bread, rolls, pita or bagels when making toast or sandwiches.
- Replace at least half of the white flour with whole wheat flour in your recipes.
- Add 15-30 mL (1-2 Tbsp) of bran, ground flax seed or a very highfibre cereal to your cereal in the morning.
Vegetables and Fruit
- Eat at least seven servings of vegetables and fruit every day. Aim for 1-2 servings of fruit and vegetables at every meal and snack.
- Eat the peels of your vegetables and fruits whenever possible.
- Try having fruit as a snack or as a dessert. Pears, raspberries and blackberries are top choices for fibre. Guava and kumquat are exotic high fibre fruits worth trying.
- Eat vegetables and fruit instead of drinking juices
- Add barley, beans, peas or lentils to soups, stews and casseroles. For example, add black beans to spaghetti sauce or lentils to soup.
- Roast chickpeas or steam edemame (soybeans in a pod) for an easy snack.
- Use legume-based dips (ex: hummus) for veggies instead of sour cream based.
Nuts and Seeds
- Add toasted nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower or pumpkin seeds to salads and cereals.
- Sprinkle on pasta dishes and stir-fries.
- Grab a handful of nuts (60 mL (1/4 cup) as a quick snack
Read Food Labels
- Compare products and pick the one with the most fibre. Be sure you are comparing the same serving sizes.
- Check for grams of fibre. High-fibre foods have four or more grams of fibre per serving.
- Look for ingredients such as bran, whole grain whole wheat, oatmeal or rye flour.
Dietary fibre comes from plant foods. There are two types: soluble and insoluble fibre.
- Insoluble fibre helps promote regularity and a healthy digestive system.
- Soluble fibre can help slow the digestion of food; lowers cholesterol and controls blood sugar levels.
How to increase fibre in your diet
- Grains – Increase your whole grain, bran and seed consumption and decrease white flour products.
- Vegetables and fruit – Aim for 1-2 servings whole fruit and vegetables at every meal and snack with their skins.
- Legumes – Include barley, beans, peas or lentils in your diet
- Nuts and seeds – Sprinkle nuts and seeds over salads and cereals or eat as a snack.
- Read food labels – Look for products with more than 4g/100g of fibre. Choose products with bran, whole grain whole wheat, oatmeal or rye flour as ingredients.