Fibre: The Top 5 Tips
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Why is fibre important?
If you’re not getting enough fibre in your diet right now, you’re not alone. According to the Heart & Stroke Foundation, most Canadians eat about half the daily fibre they need … only about 15 grams, compared to the 21-38 grams that are recommended every day.
Why does this matter? Well, fibre can pass through the body undigested, making us feel full without adding calories. And that’s good, if you’re trying to reach or maintain a healthy weight. Adding more fibre to your diet will help encourage regular bowel movements … a good step to a healthy digestive system overall. Fibre has also been shown to:
So there are many reasons to make fibre your friend.
Tip 1: Read those food labels
A good first step to adding more fibre to your diet is to understand where you can find fibre in the foods you eat. Fortunately, it’s never been easier to do this, as more and more of the foods you buy in grocery stores come with labels that show you exactly how much fibre you’re getting in them.
Reading food labels can help you:
You should also look for foods that have the Heart & Stroke Foundation’s “Health Check” symbol, which will identify them as:
Tip 2: Get the whole grain
- When baking, replace at least half the white flour in your recipe with whole-wheat flour.
- Use whole grain breads, rolls or pitas instead of white ones when making sandwiches or wraps.
- Switch to a whole grain cereal – or add 15-30 mL (1-2 Tbsp) of bran or ground flaxseed to your existing cereal in the morning.
Tip 3: Eat your fruits & veggies
- Fruit makes a healthy snack or dessert. Pears, blackberries or raspberries are all excellent sources of fibre. Or try something more exotic – guava, persimmon and kumquat are full of fibre, too. Always choose fresh or frozen fruits when you can find them, instead of canned fruit, which may be preserved with added sugar.
- Eat the peels of your fruit and veggies whenever you can. That will increase your fibre intake even more. Just make sure they’re well washed!
- Eating whole fruits and veggies is better than drinking juice, as they have more of their fibre benefit.
Tip 4: Think like a squirrel...
Squirrels are known for eating nuts and seeds, and they’re onto a good thing, where fibre is concerned.
A handful of nuts (60 mL, or ¼ cup) makes a great snack. Make sure you get ones that are unsalted, so you aren’t adding salt to your diet as well as fibre!
Don’t like eating nuts or seeds on their own? Then treat them as a seasoning. Toasted nuts, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds can be sprinkled on salads, cereals, pasta dishes or stir-fries to add their own unique flavour. Substitute them where you might otherwise be tempted to add sugar or salt.
Tip 5: Add fibre to every meal
Don’t think of fibre as something you need to consume all at once, say at breakfast. Fibre is something that you can consume a bit at a time, every time you sit down for a meal or a snack.
When you first introduce more fibre to your diet, it’s best to do it gradually. Having too much fibre all at once, when you’re not used to it, can cause bloating, gas or even diarrhea. But if you give your body time to adjust to the new diet, by increasing your daily fibre a bit at a time, you shouldn’t have these problems.
Working slowly, one step at a time, you can make fibre a part of your everyday routine:
Step 1: breakfast – replace your regular cereal with a whole grain cereal
Step 2: lunch – replace your white sandwich bread with whole wheat bread
Step 3: snack – have a pear instead of a chocolate bar
Step 4: dinner – have a baked potato with its skin, instead of mashed potatoes
Step 5: dessert – replace your pudding cup with a fruit cup.
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This information should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor. There may be variations in treatment that your physician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances. If you have questions about your symptoms, ask the Pharmacist at Walmart for more information, and/or contact your doctor.
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