Increase Your Fibre Intake
Meeting your fibre needs is critical to your health and all types of fibre support digestive and overall health. Making a few small changes to your repertoire of food can have a profound effect on your health.
Meeting your fibre needs is critical to your health. If you are not eating enough fibre, you are likely living with a fibre-famished gut and suffering the consequences. Don’t despair. Making a few small changes to your repertoire of food can have a profound effect on your health.
All types of fibre support digestive and overall health. It is important to eat a variety of foods to get enough of both soluble and insoluble fibre. As you add more fibre to your diet, be sure to start slow and gradually add more. If you want to increase your intake, consider choosing the following:
Choose fresh fruit over fruit juice, as the skin and pulp found in fresh fruit is packed with fibre. Apples, apricots, grapefruit, mangoes and oranges all offer high sources of soluble fibre. Dried fruits, including dates and prunes, are well known for their role in relieving constipation. These foods are high in insoluble fibre and keep your bowels moving.
Vegetables are rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals and they make great snacks! Carrots, celery or cucumbers are delicious on their own or dipped in hummus and are loaded with fibre. Potatoes, Brussels sprouts, turnips, sweet potatoes and asparagus are all great sources of fibre. The outer skin of vegetables are high in insoluble fibre, and it takes longer to chew so you feel fuller sooner.
Whole Grains and Cereals
Whole grains contain the entire grain, which is comprised of three parts: the germ, endosperm and bran. Choose whole grains whenever possible. Refined grains have all or part of the germ and bran removed, removing the valuable fibre, vitamins and minerals whereas whole-wheat flour, whole grains and wheat bran are chock-full of insoluble fibre. Whole grains can appear under a variety of names including, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, wild rice, quinoa, whole wheat or rye. Replacing refined white bread with whole-grain bread and cereals and trading white rice for brown rice will boost your fibre intake.
Beans, Peas and Lentils
Beans are good for our hearts. They also keep our digestive systems running efficiently as they eliminate waste products found in the colon. Black beans, kidney beans and navy beans are especially high in soluble fibre. Lentils, peas, carob, soybeans, clover, peanuts, alfalfa, and tamarinds are all considered stellar sources of fibre. Add cooked beans or lentils to meat dishes such as stews, chillies, lasagne or stir-fries. This is an easy way to increase the fibre content and lower the amount of fat and calories in a dish. Throw some cooked chickpeas into salads, soups or try roasting them for a quick treat.
Seeds and Nuts
Seeds and nuts are powerhouses for nutrients and fibre. Adding them to your diet is simple and delicious. Consider mixing seeds and nuts into your favourite muffin recipe, salads or stir-fries. Finely chop almonds and walnuts and then add them to soup. Spread almond, cashew or pumpkin seed butter on toast and drizzle with honey or use these butter to spread on celery – they make a great snack for lunches. Sprinkle ground flaxseed on your favourite breakfast cereal for a quick and easy boost of fibre.
Try these Fibre Rich Foods…
- Broccoli, raw: 2.2 g per cup
- Baked potato with skin: 3.8 g each
- Artichoke, cooked: 4.7 g each
- Parsnips, cooked: 5.2 g each
- Baked winter squash: 6.1 g per cup
- Edamame, raw: 11.3 g per cup
- Split peas, raw: 14.4 g per cup
- Apple: 3 g each
- Strawberries: 3 g per cup
- Mango: 3 g each
- Pear: 5 g each
- Raisins, seedless: 6 g per cup
- Raspberries: 8 g per cup
- Blackberries: 8 g per cup
- Bran: 8 g per 2 slices
- Rye: 3 g per 2 slices
- Wheat: 4 g per 2 slices
- Chickpeas: 4 g per 1/2 cup
- Lentils: 5 g per 1/2 cup
- Kidney beans: 6 g per 1/2 cup
- Corn: 2.3 g per 1/2 cup
- Peas: 4.3 g per 1/2 cup
- Baked beans: 6 g per 1/2 cup
Nuts and Seeds
- Walnuts: 2 g per 1/4 cup
- Pecans: 2 g per 1/4 cup
- Pistachios 3 g per 1/4 cup
- Peanuts: 3 g per 1/4 cup
- Flax: 8 g per 1/4 cup
- Almonds: 4 g per 1/4 cup
Can’t forget the high-fibre snacks!
For many, about 1/3 of our daily energy intake comes from snacks – even more for people on the go. However, many of the snacks we reach for are processed foods that are high in sugar and fat and offer little fibre, vitamins or nutrients. When snacks account for more calories than breakfast and about the same number of calories as lunch, eating good quality snacks is critical to your health.
Try these quick and easy snacks:
- Fresh or dried fruit
- Raw vegetables with hummus dip
- Seeds, nuts, dates and figs
- Whole grain, fibre rich cereals on yoghurt or yoghurt with added fibre
- Peanut butter on whole-grain crackers cut up apples or celery