We are being told more and more about dietary fiber, which is essential for the balance of the body and the digestive tract. Yet most Canadians do not ingest the required half daily.
Fortunately, all it takes is a few simple changes to your diet to achieve the 30 grams prescribed by nutritionists. The benefits of fiber are numerous, and it is mainly found in natural, unprocessed foods, such as fruits, vegetables and grains. Bread is also a good source of fibre.
Yes, and yet, we can hear you from here: all that is fine, but how do you know if you're eating enough of these famous fibres?
How many grams per day?
Fiber intake varies depending on your sex, age and condition. For example, women between the ages of 18 and 50 should consume about 25 grams of fiber per day. Men, on the other hand, should absorb 38 grams. Around the age of 51, fiber needs decrease, and it is estimated that men, like women, need 21 grams of fiber per day.
In people with diabetes, the daily intake offiber ranges from 25 grams to 50 grams. Also, if you have chronic digestive problems or have a medical condition, it is best to consult a doctor before increasing your fiber intake.
Want to know if you're getting enough fiber?
The Extenso.org website has developed a very simple tool that will allow you to calculate your daily fiber intake.
The benefits of fibre
Fiber is a factor of good he alth: but concretely, what are the benefits?
First of all, you should know that fibers allow the regulation of intestinal transit: on the one hand, so-called "insoluble" fibers form a material that gives volume in the stool, while the "soluble" fibers soften them, thus promoting their course in the colon. This is why we will always suggest people suffering from constipation to eat a lot of fibre.
Fibers also cleanse our system. These seize bile s alts, cholesterol and certain toxic elements which, left too long in the body, could become carcinogenic. It is for this reason that it is often said that fiber could prevent colon cancer. The fibers thus reduce digestive problems.
In addition, fiber regulates the absorption of carbohydrates and fats found in the foods we eat. By preventing them fromcross the wall of the digestive tract too quickly, fiber delays the feeling of hunger after meals. They soak up water once in the stomach, acting as an appetite suppressant.
It is sometimes said that fiber makes you lose weight: in fact, since foods that contain a lot of it are more filling and fiber acts as an "appetite suppressant", many believe that eating it will make them lose weight. Be aware however that no product makes you lose weight. Obviously, if you eat exclusively fruits and vegetables, you will lose weight: you also risk a dietary imbalance.
Two types of fibers
There are two types of fibre: soluble fibre, which dissolves in water, and insoluble fibre, sometimes called "dietary fibre", which does not dissolve in water..
Soluble fibers are those that help lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar. Soluble fiber is found in oat bran, vegetables and some fruits. Insoluble fibers are those that help reduce constipation and promote digestion. They are present in wheat bran, vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes.
Fortunately, you don't have to worry about what type of fiber you get: just eat enough of it.
How to make sure you eat enough fibre?
Succeeding in your daily fiber intake is not rocket science. Here are some tipsto achieve this:
- Start the day with a substantial breakfast, containing cereals rich in fiber (more than 6 grams of fiber per serving), with the addition of fruit.
- When it's snack time, make sure to eat at least one piece of fruit.
- Gone is the end of white bread and crackers: we move on to whole wheat and multigrain, brown rice and enriched pasta.
- We include legumes in our diet.
- A few nuts in our salad, and voila!
- In short, we make a very small effort to ensure that each of our meals, including snacks, contains fibre. So we add vegetables to our pizza, legumes to our soup, we eat nuts as a snack…
- We always prefer whole fruit to juice.
Eat more fibre: a process
Are you convinced to incorporate more fiber into your diet? Great! Be aware, however, that a drastic change to your diet can cause some digestive discomfort. That's why it's best to slowly increase your fiber intake to give your body time to adjust to this new diet. Remember that "water" and "fiber" always go together: indeed, the latter are much more effective when they are well sips.
Get into the habit of carefully reading the packaging of the foods you choose at the market, looking for the fiber content. Thus, wewill call a food a very high source of fibre if it contains more than 6 grams of fiber per serving. More than 4 grams is considered a high source of fibre; 2 grams of a fibre source. On the nutrition label, you'll find a product's fiber content under the heading "carbs".