So what is all the fuss about fibre? You may have been hearing that it is important to include fibre in your diet, but why? And how do you go about including sources of fibre in your day?
Starting with the basics, fibre is found only in plant foods – fruits and vegetables, grain products, nuts and seeds as well as beans and lentils – and is the part of the plant that is not digested.
It is important to choose foods that are a good source of fibre because it offers some unique health benefits. Fibre may help to lower LDL cholesterol (the “bad”, or unhealthy, cholesterol) and it can also help to manage blood glucose (blood sugar). Fibre aids in digestion and helps to keep bowels moving regularly. Fibre helps to keep you feeling full which can help in maintaining a healthy body weight and fibre may also lower the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancers.
So how can you reap these important health benefits from fibre? Simply include fibre-rich foods in your diet every day. Why not start your day with oatmeal or a high fibre wheat bran cereal topped with fresh fruit and milk? For your favorite sandwich at lunchtime, swap-out the white bread for whole grain bread, bun or wrap. Try whole wheat or whole grain pasta instead of white pasta with your spaghetti at dinner. Looking for a high-fibre mid-afternoon snack? Reach for a low fat, high-fibre blueberry muffin like this one.
Health Canada recommends that Canadians make half of their grain choices whole grains every day. Remember to increase the amount of fibre in your diet gradually, and drink plenty of water.