First things first: Fibre is your friend. Make sure fibre RSVPs to every meal, because it’s the life of the party and it keeps things going — literally. Fibre is largely responsible for those bathroom visits.
The facts on fibre
Fibre works as a bulking agent, training our intestinal muscles to push waste out of the body, which helps to prevent constipation, says Dominika Zarzeczny, B.Sc., N.D. “The amount of stool we expel per day is largely dependent on the amount of fibre we consume, so more fibre means more regularity.”
Soluble or insoluble, both types of fibre have their perks. Soluble fibre slows down digestion and keeps you feeling full, which is great when keeping an eye on your weight. It’s also helpful in controlling diabetes and cholesterol. Fibre can be found in oatmeal, lentils, apples, oranges, pears, oat bran, strawberries, beans, blueberries, carrots and the list goes on.
Leave the bloat behind
Did you know?
Fibre is also an important fuel source for the healthy bacteria living in our intestines, making for healthier bowels.
Insoluble fibres act like a natural laxative. They are present in the skins of vegetables and fruits and in the bran portion of whole grains. “Insoluble fibre passes through the gastrointestinal tract largely unchanged, helping to promote a regular and healthy digestive system,” says Zarzeczny.
Whole wheat, wheat bran, seeds, nuts, dark leafy vegetables, raisins and grapes are just some sources of insoluble fibre.
Fibre it up
Women aged 19 to 50 require approximately 25 grams of fibre a day. Incorporating fruits, vegetables and whole grains into your diet is a simple way to meet that quota quickly. For instance, Zarzeczny says, an apple consumed with the skin or a cup of broccoli both contain about 5 grams of fibre. A cup of cooked lentils contains 16 grams, and a cup of whole-wheat spaghetti contains just over 6 grams of fibre. Add that up, and you’re already looking at 27 grams of fibre (and you’ve reached your recommended daily intake).
A cup of split peas and black beans each provides about 15 grams of fibre per cup. Green peas make an excellent side dish, and a cup contains about 9 grams of fibre. Grab a handful of almonds — or 23, to be exact — which provides 3.5 grams of fibre and makes for a perfect snack.
Bran is rich in fibre and essential fatty acids, and it contains significant amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Flaxseed fan club
Looking to increase your digestive wellness? Zarzeczny recommends flaxseeds, the “Cadillac of fibre.” Not only are they an excellent source of soluble fibre, but they also contain essential fatty acids and lignans (chemical compound found in plants), she says, and the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid found in flaxseeds has been shown to help prevent heart disease. Lignans also have powerful antioxidant properties shown to help reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Make bran your breakfast
Kick-start your metabolism with the most important meal of the day by tossing fibre into the mix:
- Eat the skins and seeds of vegetables and fruits.
- Use whole-grain bread when making toast.
- Add Kellogg’s All-Bran buds to your yogurt.
- Add a small handful of almonds or other nuts to your cereal.
- Grab a Kellogg’s All-Bran bar when you’re on the go in between classes or meetings, and it will carry you through to lunch.
How do you get your daily fibre fix? Tell us in the comments section below.