Should My Family Be Eating More Fibre?
You may have heard of fibre before; most people associate fibre with helping relieve
constipation. But did you know that fibre has so many more benefits?!
Before we get into that let's talk about what fibre is.
This post will explain the following:
Scroll to the end for a summary
What is Fibre?
Fibre is a component of food that although it is edible, is not broken down by our
digestive system and absorbed. Wait a minute, if it’s not absorbed then why is fibre of any use
to me? Well actually, it is fibre's undigestible nature that gives it all its health properties. Let’s
explore the different types of fibre.
The Two Types of Fibre: Soluble and Insoluble
Just like it sounds, soluble fibre is soluble in water. Soluble fibre has the
ability to dissolve in water to form a thick gel. In your digestive tract, this thick gel tends to slow
things down. This has a number of benefits:
Helps you to feel fuller longer by delaying the emptying of the stomach and the release of hunger stimulating hormones
Helps lower blood glucose levels by slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates.
May help prevent diabetes by reducing risk of insulin resistance caused by the accumulation of fat around your organs
May help reduce cholesterol levels by limiting the reabsorption of cholesterol containing bile in the small intestine
Soluble Fibre is found in foods such as oats, beans, peas, carrots, apples, citrus fruits, barley, and psyllium.
This type of fibre does not dissolve in water and passes through the digestive system unchanged. It can speed up things up in your digestive system, increasing stool bulk and water content for smooth passage. This is the kind of fibre that is great for keeping you regular. Insoluble fibre can also:
Reduce risk of haemorrhoids
Help feed the good bacteria in your gut that are responsible for digestion and immune health
People with diabetes should focus on non-starchy fruits and vegetables as a source of insoluble fibre as other sources like potatoes or whole grains tend to be high in carbohydrates and should be enjoyed in moderation
Insoluble Fibre is found in whole wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans, vegetables (such as cauliflower, potatoes, and green beans).
Click here to learn more about the role of dietary fibre in a healthy diet.
Recommended Fibre Requirements
According to Health Canada, women require 25 g of fibre per day and men require 38 g of fibre per day.
For 1-3 year olds, the AI (Adequate Intake) for fibre is approximately 19 g/day.
For 4-8 year olds, the AI for fibre is approximately 25 g/day.
Most Canadians only consume about half of that amount daily. For more information on Fibre from Health Canada and helpful hints when visiting the grocery store, click here.
Fibre can be found in a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains like oats and barley
as well as in nuts, seeds and beans.
A great way of getting more fibre in your diet is through the addition of fibre boosters! They
can be added to your favourite foods to give the fibre content a little boost.
Let your kiddo use fibre boosters to customize and decorate their own food!
Click HERE for a fibre boosting hack using old spice jars and a few ingredients.
Top 15 High-Fibre Foods From Different Food Groups
3. Brown/Wild Rice
4. Whole wheat bread
5. Whole wheat pasta
Pulses and Legumes:
Fruits and Vegetables:
5. Potatoes, with the skin
Fibre is a non-digestible carbohydrate that plays an important role in a healthy diet. Adequate fibre intake has been shown to have many benefits and may help with: normalizing bowel movements and maintaining bowel health, lowering cholesterol levels, maintaining blood sugar levels, and helping you feel full longer.
Research shows that consuming a variety of high-fibre foods from various food groups produces many health benefits such as improved cardiovascular health and a reduced risk of developing other non-communicable diseases.
Disclaimer: All the advice shared here is general information. Consult your doctor for personalized health information. Compiled June, 2021
Special thanks to Sabrina Mastrangelo and Bavina Sivayogeswaran, nutrition graduates from Ryerson University who conducted the research and helped with content development for this post.