now most Canadians know that eating fibre is important to health. What many
Canadians don’t know is how much fibre to eat everyday and how to incorporate
it into their diets.
The average fibre intake of Canadian adults is less than 15 grams per day. Dietitians know that adults should be getting closer to 25-30 grams of dietary fibre every day to stay healthy. And why?
- Eating fibre promotes regularity and may prevent disorders of the digestive system.
- May help reduce the risk of some types of cancer.
- Helps lower blood cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease when combined with a low-fat diet.
- Helps people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels.
- May help with appetite and weight control for those people trying to lose some weight.
The reason many Canadians don’t get enough fibre is simple. Few adults or children eat enough whole grain breads and cereals or vegetables and fruit.
Foods that provide dietary fibre can be found in three of the four food groups in Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating:
Grain Products – whole grain or wheat bran cereals,
breads, pastas, crackers and brown rice.
Vegetables & Fruit – all vegetables and fruit contain
some fibre. Vegetables and fruit with skins and berries are higher-fibre choices.
To get more fibre have fruit instead of fruit juice.
Meat & Alternatives – meat alternatives such as
dried beans, peas and lentils are high in fibre. Peanut butter, nuts and seeds
also provide some fibre.
There are two different types of dietary fibre – insoluble and soluble.
Insoluble fibre cannot be dissolved in water or fully digested so it helps keeps
you regular. Soluble fibre forms a gel when mixed with water adding bulk to
your stool. Most fibre-containing foods contain different amounts of both types
We need to eat both kinds of dietary fibre everyday. Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating suggests eating at least 5 servings of whole grain products and 5 to10 servings of vegetables and fruit everyday. This may seem overwhelming to achieve but it is not as hard as you think.
Sample Day Menu
Bran Flakes (1 cup) 4.4 g fibre
Raisins (2 tbsp) 0.8 g
Milk (1/2 cup) 0.0 g – half cup
Orange, sliced 1 2.4 g
Low-fat bran muffin 1 2.5 g
Coffee/tea with milk 0.0 g
Grilled cheese sandwich
on whole wheat bread 3.2 g
Split pea soup (1 cup) 3.1 g
Pear (with skin) 15.1 g
Chicken (3 oz) 0.0 g
Brown rice (1 cup) 3.5 g
Green peas (1/2 cup) 5.7 g – half cup
Ice cream (1/2 cup) 0.0 g – half cup
Strawberries (1/4 cup) 0.9 g – one quarter cup
Total fibre 31.6 g
If you do not eat a lot of high fibre foods but plan to start be sure to do it gradually. Too much fibre started too quickly can make you pretty uncomfortable. Also, make sure you are drinking lots of water (6 to 8 glasses per day) in order to keep your bowels moving and healthy.
For more information on fibre, call Nutrition Services at the Thunder Bay District Health Unit at 625-5968 and for more information on healthy eating check out their website at www.tbdhu.com.
Information adapted from the Registered Dietitians at Kellogg Canada Inc.
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