It’s no surprise that Canadians continually come up short when striving to meet their fibre requirements from food.
A western diet full of processed and fast-foods means whole-foods are sadly lacking, and fibre intake falls far short of the recommended 25 grams/day for women and 30-38 grams/day for men.
And when the benefits of fibre include blood sugar regulation, weight maintenance, heart health, and gut health, it’s important to try to fill the gaps.
Fibre comes in two major forms: "soluble" and "insoluble" and both are necessary for optimal health.
Insoluble fibre, found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains, does not dissolve in water and adds bulk to keep things moving through your digestive tract, keeping you regular and speeding up the elimination of waste.
Soluble fibre, found in chia seeds, barley and black beans, can trap dietary cholesterol and fats and carry them through the intestines unabsorbed. It can make you feel fuller for longer, helping to maintain a healthy weight. It’s also great for feeding our healthy gut bacteria, which has many benefits.
If you find it difficult to increase these dietary sources, a number of supplements that provide various forms of soluble and insoluble fibre are available at your local natural health retailer. When using fibre supplements, remember to increase your intake slowly over a week or two to allow your body to get used to a higher fibre intake. Going too quickly can cause uncomfortable bloating and gas.
Speak with your health care practitioner about which fibre supplement might be right for you.