The average consumption of fibre per day in the U.S. is ~12gms/day. Recommendations by the National Institute of Health are 35 grams per day of fibre. We recommend 35-50 grams per day.
Functions of Fibre:
- Fibre stimulates chewing which, in turn, is a stimulus for proper digestion.
- Fibre’s bulky nature provides a feeling of fullness and therefore helps with weight loss.
- Fibre functions to slow absorption of glucose and increase insulin sensitivity.
- Soluble fibre delays gastric emptying and slows the rate of digestion and absorption of nutrients, thus maximizing absorption.
- Soluble fibre lowers serum cholesterol. A study in Finland involving 21,930 men showed that for every 10gm of fibre eaten per day, the risk of dying from a heart attack dropped 17%.
- Lastly, certain fibres can bind estrogen receptors, and thereby decreasing their ability to stimulate certain estrogen dependent tumors.
Easy Ways to Add Fibre to your Diet:
- Eat the whole thing. Instead of eating white or processed breads and grains opt for whole-grain products such as whole-wheat, steel-cut oats, and other whole grains.
- Eat your fruit & veg. when eating fruit & veggies eat it raw and eat the skin. The skin of fruits and vegetables contain extra fibre. You get even more fibre when you eat it raw.
- Bring on the beans. Dry beans and lentils are great sources of soluble fibre to add to your diet. They are protein-packed and delicious, and they can be selected as a meat replacement. Spice up your favourite foods by adding black, garbanzo, kidney, or navy beans.
- Snack smart. Keep high-fibre, nutritious snacks handy at all times. Choose whole-grain pretzels, low-fat air-popped popcorn, or raw nuts when you are craving something salty. Wash pieces of fruit each day so they will be easy to grab when your sweet tooth calls. Wash and cut carrots, peppers, and raw sweet potatoes for a crunchy, guilt-free snack. For the ultimate high-fibre snack, make a customized fibre-filled trail mix using raw nuts, flavourful seeds, dried fruit, and a few extra ingredients of your own.
Remember, as you increase your fibre intake don’t forget to drink more water. Like fibre, water is an important regulator of the digestive system. Wash your fibre down with a refreshing glass of water.