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Step up to a Healthier You with the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit

Healthy Eating

The Facts on Fibre

Dietary Fibre is a naturally occurring plant material that your body is unable to digest.

Most Canadians do not consume enough fibre. Canada’s Food Guide recommends choosing vegetable and fruits more often than juice and making at least half of your grain products whole grain each day.

What are Whole Grains?

Composed of 3 edible layers

  • Outer Bran:
    Fibre, B vitamins, magnesium, iron, zinc and phytochemicals, and some protein
  • Middle Endosperm:
    Carbohydrates and protein
  • Inner Germ:
    B vitamins, unsaturated fats, vitamin E, minerals and phytochemicals

Why Should We be Eating More Fibre?

  • May lower levels of blood cholesterol.
  • May help people with diabetes manage their blood sugar levels.
  • Makes us feel full and may be useful for weight control.
  • Adds bulk to our stools and reduces constipation.
  • May help to prevent or manage bowel disorders such as diverticulitis.

How Much Fibre do We Need in a Day?

Adults 25-35 grams
Good source of fibre 2 grams/serving
High source of fibre 4 grams/serving
Very high source of fibre 6 grams/serving

Benefits of Soluble Fibre

  • Forms a gel in water
  • Able to bind to cholesterol
  • May help with diarrhea and loose stools
  • May assist in controlling blood sugars

Examples of Soluble Fibre

  • Dried peas, beans, legumes and lentils
  • Oats and oat bran
  • Barley
  • Pysillium

Benefits of Insoluble Fibre

  • Does not dissolve in water
  • Is not fully digested
  • Holds onto water like a sponge
  • May help with constipation
  • Make stools bulkier and easier to pass
  • May help remove cancer causing agents

Examples of Insoluble Fibre

  • Wheat bran
  • Whole grains
  • Skins of fruits and vegetables

Source: “Choose Fibre: Why do I need Fibre.” Produced by Health Action of Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit.

General Benefits of Eating Fibre

  • Adds bulk to our stools and reduces constipation
  • May help to prevent or manage bowel disorders
  • Makes you feel full and satisfied
  • May reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases
  • May help people with diabetes manage their blood sugars

Increasing Fibre in Your Diet

  • Eat skins on fruits and vegetables
  • Eat whole grains more often
  • Replace white flour with whole grain flour
  • Add wheat germ, flaxseed and dried fruit to yogurt, cereals or baked goods
  • Incorporate beans, split peas and lentils to soups, salads and casseroles

Too much fibre can cause gas and bloating. Drink plenty of water, soup, juice or milk.