Playing with Fibre

5 tips to increase the fibre in your diet

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If you want to slash your risk of heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, obesity and possibly breast cancer, reach for fibre-rich foods. Dietary fibre is the part of a plant not completely broken down during digestion. It protects you by reducing blood cholesterol levels, keeping blood sugar levels on an even keel and helping the gastrointestinal system function smoothly. Fibre-rich foods also help prevent overeating, because they make you feel full. The National Academies Institute of Medicine currently recommends that women under the age of 50 consume 25 grams of fibre each day. Here are five easy ways to add fibre to your diet:

Build a better bowl

Start your day with a whole grain cereal containing at least four grams of fibre per serving. Better yet, consider mixing a whole grain cereal that contains at least two grams of fibre per serving with a very high-fibre bran cereal—many of which contain more than 10 grams of fibre per serving.

Grab your five to 10 a day

A good way to reach your fibre goal is to eat at least five—but ideally closer to 10—servings of fruit and vegetables every day. While some produce is higher in fibre than others, the best plan is to eat a wide variety, with the skin on whenever possible. For example, the skin of a large baked potato contains more than four grams of fibre.

Go whole grain

Choose 100 per cent whole grain bread, pasta, bagels, crackers, tortillas, muffins and brown rice. Most whole grain products contain at least two grams of fibre per serving. Carefully check labels: “whole wheat flour” means it’s whole grain; “wheat flour” doesn’t.

Choose beans

Beans, at about seven grams of fibre per half-cup (125 mL) serving, are good choices. Beans are also loaded with vitamins, minerals and plant compounds that help fight disease. Enjoy them in soups, salads or chili or wrapped in warm tortillas.

Snack wisely

Nuts, seeds and dried fruit are good fibre sources, making trail mix a great snack (control calories by limiting serving size to half a cup/125 mL). Enjoy air-popped or low-fat microwave popcorn, roasted soy nuts or baked tortilla chips with salsa. Add fibre to your diet gradually and drink lots of fluids. Too much fibre can cause gas, and fibre without fluids can result in constipation.

Nutritionist and registered dietitian Liz Pearson is co-author of The Ultimate Healthy Eating Plan (That Still Leaves Room for Chocolate) (Whitecap).

If you want to slash your risk of heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, obesity and possibly breast cancer, reach for fibre-rich foods. Dietary fibre is the part of a plant not completely broken down during digestion. It protects you by reducing blood cholesterol levels, keeping blood sugar levels on an even keel and helping the gastrointestinal system function smoothly. Fibre-rich foods also help prevent overeating, because they make you feel full. The National Academies Institute of Medicine currently recommends that women under the age of 50 consume 25 grams of fibre each day. Here are five easy ways to add fibre to your diet:

Build a better bowl

Start your day with a whole grain cereal containing at least four grams of fibre per serving. Better yet, consider mixing a whole grain cereal that contains at least two grams of fibre per serving with a very high-fibre bran cereal—many of which contain more than 10 grams of fibre per serving.

Grab your five to 10 a day

A good way to reach your fibre goal is to eat at least five—but ideally closer to 10—servings of fruit and vegetables every day. While some produce is higher in fibre than others, the best plan is to eat a wide variety, with the skin on whenever possible. For example, the skin of a large baked potato contains more than four grams of fibre.

Go whole grain

Choose 100 per cent whole grain bread, pasta, bagels, crackers, tortillas, muffins and brown rice. Most whole grain products contain at least two grams of fibre per serving. Carefully check labels: “whole wheat flour” means it’s whole grain; “wheat flour” doesn’t.

Choose beans

Beans, at about seven grams of fibre per half-cup (125-mL) serving, are good choices. Beans are also loaded with vitamins, minerals and plant compounds that help fight disease. Enjoy them in soups, salads or chili or wrapped in warm tortillas.

Snack wisely

Nuts, seeds and dried fruit are good fibre sources, making trail mix a great snack (control calories by limiting serving size to half a cup/125 mL). Enjoy air-popped or low-fat microwave popcorn, roasted soy nuts or baked tortilla chips with salsa. Add fibre to your diet gradually and drink lots of fluids. Too much fibre can cause gas, and fibre without fluids can result in constipation.

Nutritionist and registered dietitian Liz Pearson is co-author of The Ultimate Healthy Eating Plan (That Still Leaves Room for Chocolate) (Whitecap).