Let's be honest, fibre doesn't always get the best reputation because it's not seen as anything 'tasty'! But it's a necessary part of our regular diet. We break down how fibre can help you in more ways than you realize.
What Exactly is Fibre?
Dietary fibre is a natural part of plant-derived food that can’t be completely digested by the human body (1). There are many physiological functions in humans depending on the composition of the fibre, but the two most important ones are soluble and insoluble fibre.
This type of fibre dissolves in water and often form viscous gels and bind to nutrients in the GI tract. Which is great because it means decreased absorption of fatty acids, cholesterol, and blood glucose, leading to a beneficial effect on lowering cholesterol levels and improving glycemic control (2). Some examples are apples, citrus fruits, carrots, oats, barley.
If you've ever felt constipated, then insoluble fibre is your friend. This type increases fecal bulk, increases movement down the digestive system, and decreases transit time through faster movement (2). Some examples are whole wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans, cauliflower, potatoes.
Some foods high in fibre:
- Whole grain products
- Legumes such as dried bean, lentils, soybeans
- Nuts and seeds
How A High Fibre Diet Helps Your Body
- Types of foods vary:
- 10 g per day of pectins and gums
- Up to 150g of dried beans or legumes
- Consumption of 6-10 servings per day of soluble fibre
- 2-4 servings per day of legumes or oat/barley -based cereals
How much fibre do you need?
Women need about 25 grams of fibre per day|
Men need about 38 grams of fibre per day (5)
(The average Canadian is only getting ½ of recommendations by Health Canada!)
Tips to Increase Fibre In Your Diet:
- High fibre breakfast meals
- Opt for cereals with “whole grain”, “bran”, or “fibre”
- Eat more whole grains
- Brown rice, wild rice, barley, whole-wheat pasta
- Add legumes
- This includes beans, peas, lentils e.g. Add kidney beans to canned soup
- Eat these snacks throughout the day:
- Reduced sodium popcorn, raw vegetables, fresh fruits
Although fibre is good for health, it's important to not change your diet dramatically, but slowly add these tips over a few days. Start your fibre intake in moderation, as an excess of any types of food will cause adverse effects.
Remember to always consult a dietitian or health professional before taking any new supplements or starting a different health plan.
Written by: Lilia Laihem
Edited by: Ev Wong
- Felson, Sabrina. "Dietary Fiber for Constipation: How Much You Need." WebMD. WebMD, 26 July 2020. Web. 03 Nov. 2020.
- McRorie, Johnson W., and Nicola M. McKeown. "Understanding the Physics of Functional Fibers in the Gastrointestinal Tract: An Evidence-Based Approach to Resolving Enduring Misconceptions about Insoluble and Soluble Fiber." Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, vol. 117, no. 2, 2017;2016;, pp. 251-264.
- Hoang Vi Thanh Ho, Elena Jovanovski, Andreea Zurbau, Sonia Blanco Mejia, John L Sievenpiper, Fei Au-Yeung, Alexandra L Jenkins, Lea Duvnjak, Lawrence Leiter, Vladimir Vuksan, A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of the effect of konjac glucomannan, a viscous soluble fiber, on LDL cholesterol and the new lipid targets non-HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 105, Issue 5, May 2017, Pages 1239–1247,
- Vladimir Vuksan, Alexandra L Jenkins, David JA Jenkins, Alexander L Rogovik, John L Sievenpiper, Elena Jovanovski, Using cereal to increase dietary fiber intake to the recommended level and the effect of fiber on bowel function in healthy persons consuming North American diets, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 88, Issue 5, November 2008, Pages 1256–1262
- Bureau of Nutritional Sciences. Summary of Health Canada's Assessment of a Health Claim about Vegetables and Fruit and Heart Disease. Rep. Ottawa: Health Canada, 2016. Print.
- Canada, Health. "Government of Canada." Canada.ca. / Gouvernement Du Canada, 22 Jan. 2019. Web. 03 Nov. 2020.