For years, we have known that dietary fibre is critical for good health. Yet, unlike every other component of the human diet, dietary fibre is the only one that is not digested and absorbed into the human body. Instead, fibre passes through the digestive tract…so how can it be so good for us? A growing part of the equation is bacteria!
The beneficial bacteria in our colon love to munch on fibre – but most Canadians still don’t get enough. Adult women need 25 grams of fibre and adult men need 38 grams of fibre per day. It may sound like a lot but it really isn’t that difficult to do. Starting your day with two slices of sprouted grain toast; eating a cup of lentils at lunch, snacking on a pear and having some greens at dinner will give you more than you need.
Don’t worry too much about counting grams of fibre…instead, make a conscious effort to eat more high fibre foods. Here are some easy ways to get more fibre into your daily diet.
1. Eat more whole and sprouted grains: A diet filled with refined grains harms your intestinal health; however, grains in their whole form are packed with fibre. Two slices of sprouted grain bread have between 10 and 12 grams of fibre; one cup of cooked barley has 6 grams of fibre and one cup of cooked quinoa has 5 grams.
2. Eat more locally grown fruit: The fruits grown closest to home such as apples, pears and berries, are actually the highest in fibre! Berries have between 4-10 grams of fibre per cup; pears contain 5-6 grams of fibre. Add to smoothies or use to top cereal.
3. Make beans a staple: Beans are one of the most fibre-rich foods on the planet, which makes them great for weight maintenance and digestive health. A cup of cooked beans averages 15 grams of fibre! Add beans to soups and stews or puree into dips. Roasted chickpeas are a delicious high fibre snack.
4. Get greens daily: Green vegetables such as kale and broccoli are not only high fibre, they are an important part of an anti-inflammatory diet. One cup of cooked greens averages 5 grams of fibre.
5. Explore more seeds: Ground flaxseed and chia seeds are fibre-rich. Add to cereals, smoothies and salad dressings.