HealthLink BC File #68h, January 2011
Fibre and Your Health
- Why is fibre important?
- How much fibre do I need?
- Increase the amount of fibre you eat
- Tips for Reading Food Labels
Why is fibre important?
Dietary fibre is important for your health. However, most Canadians do not get enough fibre. Dietary fibre helps your bowel stay healthy and regular. It can also lower blood cholesterol levels and control blood sugar levels. Dietary fibre may also help prevent colon cancer. Eating foods that contain more fibre may help you feel full for a longer time, which can help you to control your weight.
How much fibre do I need?
On average, you can aim for the following amount of fibre each day, depending on your age and gender:
|Age (years)||Gender||Fibre (grams)|
You are probably getting enough fibre if you are using Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide to plan your meals and snacks plus choosing high fibre foods every day.
People with intestinal or bowel diseases may not be able to eat large amounts of fibre. Speak with your doctor or dietitian.
Increase the amount of fibre you eat
Every day, choose high fibre foods for meals and snacks:
- Start the day with a cereal that is a high* or very high* source of fibre.
- Adults need 7 to10 servings of vegetables and fruit each day. A serving is 125 mL or 1/2 cup of fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables or fruit, which are higher in fibre than juice.
- Eat 100% whole grain breads, brown rice and whole wheat pasta
- Add lentils or cooked beans to your soup, casserole, or salad
- Add dried fruits, nuts or seeds to yogurt, muffins, or salads
- When you start to eat more fibre, be sure to drink more fluid as well.
- Add fibre to your diet slowly to reduce gas and cramping
Tips for Reading Food Labels
- Look for labels that say high or very high source of fibre, which mean the food has at least 4 to 6 grams of fibre per serving
- Check the Nutrition Facts table on the package for the amount or grams of fibre in a serving
- Check the ingredient list
- Look for ingredients such as bran, whole grain wheat, oatmeal, or rye flour
- Enriched wheat flour and unbleached flour are both refined white flour, and these are not good sources of fibre
- Multigrain may mean that a small amount of whole grain has been added to enriched flour, and this does not necessarily make the food product a good source of fibre.
|Food||Portion||Fibre amount (grams)|
|All bran cereals (e.g. Bran Buds™)||30g or 125 mL/1/2 cup or 75 mL/1/3 cup||10-13|
|Almonds, roasted||60ml or 1/4 cup||4|
|Apple with skin||1 medium||3|
|Black beans, cooked or canned baked beans||175ml or 3/4 cup||9-10|
|Blackberries or raspberries||125ml or 1/2 cup||4|
|Bran, 100% natural wheat bran||30ml or 2 Tbsp||3|
|Bread, sprouted grain||35g or 1 slice||3-5*|
|Brussels sprouts||4 sprouts||3|
|Corn, carrot, or broccoli, cooked||125ml or 1/2 cup||2|
|Dates, dried||3 dates||2|
|Edamame/green soy beans, cooked and shelled||175ml or 3/4 cup||6|
|Flax seeds, ground||15ml or 1 Tbsp||3|
|Garbanzo beans (chickpeas), cooked||175ml or 3/4 cup||6|
|Green peas, cooked||125ml or 1/2 cup||6|
|Hummus||175ml or 3/4 cup||7-11|
|Kidney beans, dark red, cooked||175ml or 3/4 cup||9|
|Kiwi fruit||1 large||3|
|Lentils, cooked||175ml or 3/4 cup||6|
|Oatmeal (large oats), prepared||175ml or 3/4 cup||2-3*|
|Peanut butter, chunk type||30ml or 2 Tbsp||3|
|Peanuts, dry, roasted||60ml or 1/4 cup||3|
|Pear, canned halves, stewed rhubarb||125ml or 1/2 cup||3|
|Pear, with skin||1 medium||5|
|Popcorn, popped||500 mL/2 cups||2.4|
|POST Raisin Bran, POST Spoon Size Shredded Wheat||30g||4*|
|POST Shreddies or Kellogg's Raisin Bran®||30g||3*|
|Potato, with or without skin||1 medium||3-4|
|Quaker® Oat Bran, prepared||175ml or 3/4 cup||3*|
|Red River cereal, prepared||175ml or 3/4 cup||4*|
|Soy nuts, roasted||175ml or 3/4 cup||15|
|Split peas, cooked||175ml or 3/4 cup||4|
|Mixed vegetables or parsnips, cooked||125ml or 1/2 cup||3|
|Sunflower seed kernels, dried, hulled||60ml or 1/4 cup||4|
|Whole wheat bread, commercial||35g or 1 slice||2*|
|Whole wheat spaghetti, cooked||125ml or 1/2 cup||2*|
|*Check the label|
For more nutrition information, call 8-1-1 to speak with a registered dietitian.
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