Fibre – How to Increase the Amount in Your Diet
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Why should I eat more fibre?
Eating the right amount of fibre has been shown to have a wide range of health benefits. Foods that are high in fibre can help in the treatment of constipation, hemorrhoids, diverticulitis (the inflammation of pouches in the digestive tract) and irritable bowel syndrome. Dietary fibre may also help lower your cholesterol and reduce your risk of coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.
Eating fibre-rich foods also aids in digestion and the absorption of nutrients, and helps you to feel fuller longer after a meal (which can help curb overeating and weight gain).
How can I get more fibre in my diet?
Canadian women need 25 grams of fibre and men need 38 grams of fibre per day. Most Canadians are only getting about half that much.
Try the following ideas to increase the fibre in your diet:
- Eat at least 7-8 servings of vegetables and fruit a day. Aim for 1-2 servings of fruit and vegetables at every meal and snack. Fruits and vegetables that are high in fibre include:
- Beans (small white, yellow, cranberry, adzuki, black, pinto, kidney, navy, Great Northern, white, refried), cooked, (175 ml (3/4 cup) = 8.6-13.8 grams).
- Artichokes (1 medium = 10.3 grams)
- Sweet potatoes (1 medium sweet potato = 3.8 grams)
- Pears (1 medium pear, with skin = 5.3 grams)
- Green peas (125 mL (1/2 cup) = 3.75-5.6 grams)
- Berries such as raspberries and blackberries (125 mL (1/2 cup) = 4.0-4.2 grams)
- Prunes (60 mL (1/4 cup) = 3.6 grams)
- Figs (60 mL (1/4 cup) = 3.7 grams)
- Spinach (125 mL (1/2 cup) = 2.3-3.7 grams)
- Apples (1 medium apple, with skin = 3.5 grams)
- Oranges (1 orange = 2.3-3.6 grams)
- Replace refined white bread with whole-grain breads and cereals. Eat brown rice instead of white rice.
Eat more of the following foods:
- Bran muffins
- Bran or multiple-grain cereals, cooked or dry
- Brown rice
- 100% whole-wheat bread
- When eating store-bought foods, check the nutrition information labels for the amounts of dietary fibre in each product. High fibre foods have 4 or more grams of fibre.
- Eat beans each week.
When you first add fibre to your diet you may notice bloating, cramping or gas. But you can prevent this by making smaller changes in your diet over a period of time. Start with one of the changes listed above, then wait several days to a week before making another. If one change doesn’t seem to work for you, try a different one.
Be sure to drink more fluids when you increase the amount of fibre you eat. Liquids help your body digest fibre.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Health Canada Website
Dietitians of Canada Website