Roughage Up Your Diet
Contributed by: News Canada
By Stephanie Lawrence
(NC) - Fibre is an important part of a healthy diet, but unfortunately many of us are not getting our fill. Adults should be consuming at least 21 grams a day and ideally 35 grams, but we are only averaging between 4.5 and 11 grams. So what is fibre and where do we find it so we can get more of it?
Fibre is generally divided into two broad classes: soluble and insoluble and most high fibre foods contain both types. Soluble fibre is found in oatmeal and oat bran, legumes, beans, nuts, psyllium and pectin in fruits. Insoluble fibre is found in vegetables and fruit (especially the skin), wheat bran, flax seed and whole grains.
Fibre helps lower blood cholesterol and manage blood sugars. A diet high in fibre also provides plenty of vitamins and minerals, and because it promotes a feeling of fullness, it can help in weight management. It also helps move food through your digestive system quickly and efficiently and may decrease risk of heart disease and prevent certain types of cancer.
Carol Dombrow, Heart and Stroke Foundation registered dietitian offers the following tips to help you work more fibre into your diet:
- Eat more unpeeled (but well washed) vegetables and fruit.
- Look at the Nutrition Facts table on packaged foods and choose higher fibre choices.
- Look for labels that say high or very high source of fibre which means the food has at least 4 to 6 grams of fibre per serving.
- Start your day off with a high fibre cereal, and try to consume some fibre at each snack and meal.
- Choose foods with 2 grams or more fibre each day.
- Make at least half of your grain products whole grain.
- Replace half the flour in baking with whole wheat or oat flour.
- Add lentils or cooked beans to soups, salads and casseroles.
- Add dried fruits, nuts or seeds to yogurt, salad and muffins.
- Check for Health Check. The Heart and Stroke Foundation's Health Check program is based on Canada's Food Guide. Health Check products meet nutrient criteria developed by the Foundation's registered dietitians. Learn more at www.healthcheck.org.