- NUTRITIONAL WELLNESS
- KNOW YOUR SERVING
- BODY SMART
- MEAL PLANNING
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- UNDERSTANDING FOOD LABELS
Fibre is the portion of plant material that humans are not able to absorb or digest. There are two kinds of dietary fibre, soluble and insoluble. Both are important for proper bowel function. Fibre can also help lower cholesterol, manage diabetes, and maintain a healthy body weight.
- Soluble Fibre
Soluble fibre dissolves in water, forming a gel in the intestines. Food sources include oatmeal, barley, kidney beans, and some fruits and vegetables.
- Insoluble Fibre
Insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water. Instead it passes through the digestive system almost intact, adding bulk to the stool and acting as a sponge to absorb water. Food sources include wheat bran, whole grains, many vegetables and skins of fruit.
Benefits of Fibre in the Diet
- For cardiovascular health:
Soluble fibre can help lower serum LDL cholesterol levels by inhibiting the absorption of cholesterol.
- For improved control of diabetes and blood sugars:
Fibre helps to regulate or slow glucose absorption.
- For preventing constipation and diarrhea:
Soluble fibre supports the growth of friendly bacteria needed to help maintain a healthy gut, and helps slow down the time it takes for food to pass through the stomach into the intestine. Insoluble fibre adds bulk to stool, keeping stool soft and the bowels moving regularly.
- For weight loss:
Both types of fibre make you feel full without adding a lot of calories or fat.
- For cancer prevention:
Fibre-rich foods contain antioxidants and phytochemicals, known to reduce risk for certain types of cancer.
- For overall health:
Foods with fibre have lots of vitamins and minerals that our bodies need. Fibre also helps our bowels to function properly on a regular basis.
Canadians should get a recommended 25 grams of fibre per day. Remember to drink plenty of water as well to prevent constipation.
Aim for 4 grams of fibre/serving, which is considered “High in Fibre???. Examples of high fibre foods include all bran cereals, prunes, lentils, flax seed, artichokes, chick peas, dried figs, kidney beans, green peas, spinach and pears.
Examples of foods that contain 2-4 grams of fibre per serving include soybeans, carrots, wheat germ, apples, popcorn, baked potatoes, almonds, strawberries, dried prunes, oranges, broccoli and corn.
Ref: Health Canada website, 2007