You may be familiar with fibre in your diet, but did you know that there are actually two kinds of fibre in the food we eat? And each type of fibre – soluble fibre and insoluble fibre – plays an important role in our health. Fibre is only found in plant foods (fruit, vegetables, whole grain products, beans and lentils as well as nuts and seeds) and it is the part of the plant that we do not digest.
Insoluble fibre is found in wheat bran, whole grain products (bread, cereal, pastas) and some fruits and vegetables. Insoluble fibre is important for healthy digestion and keeping you “regular”.
Soluble fibre is found in soy nuts, grains such as oats and barley, some fruits (like oranges and apricots) and vegetables (like asparagus and sweet potatoes) and beans and lentils. Soluble fibre may help to control blood glucose (blood sugar) and lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol.
How can you reap the health benefits of both soluble and insoluble fibre? Choose a variety of fibre-containing foods every day. Breakfast is a great way to start your day off with fibre-rich foods. Enjoy a bowl of high-fibre wheat bran cereal, or sprinkle wheat bran onto your favorite breakfast cereal for a fibre boost. Or you can enjoy a warm bowl of oatmeal instead. Be sure to enjoy your favorite fruit, like orange slices or berries, instead of drinking fruit juice; the whole fruit contains more fibre than juice does. Switch-out “white” bread for whole grain tortillas, bread or buns for your sandwich at lunch, and enjoy a side of raw veggies. Why not try a handful of soynuts for a mid-afternoon snack? At dinner, trade the “white” pasta for whole grain pasta, enjoy a salad based on wheat berries, or add barley to your favorite soup or stew.