Sometimes you just want to bake with white flour. It happens. I know, I've been…
Fibre is a human’s best friend.
Oh you thought that was dog’s role? Well, let’s see if a dog can provide you with all these benefits and then we’ll talk.
Regularity: fibre adds bulk to a stool, making it easier for the colon to pass it through. Have you ever had the strings come out of your hoodie or sweatpants? It’s a frustrating thing to try and push the string back through! There really isn’t much bulk to grab on to. It’s just a slippery string. My mom taught me to attach a safety pin to one end and then push it through. Then it slides through like a dream! The safety pin is like a diet high in fibre. Fibre makes it so much easier to move the stool through.
When your stool is sailing smoothly, you help prevent constipation, diverticulosis, and diverticulitis. And life is just so much better 🙂 For more on what to eat to avoid constipation, read this article.
Colon Cancer Prevention: Studies show that diets high in fibre and low in red and processed meat work to keep the colon healthy and cancer free. Fibre gets broken down in the colon to small chain fatty acids, such as butyrate. These fatty acids are good fuel for the colon cells.
Lower Blood Cholesterol: Soluble fibre acts like a sponge and absorbs bile, which contains cholesterol. The fibre holds onto the cholesterol and sweeps it out of the body in the stool. This helps to keep the blood levels in a healthy range.
Despite all these fantastic health benefits, I just read a stat on The Gut Health Doctor’s Instagram feed that only 5% of people are meeting their daily fibre goals!
To help you out, I’ve put together 10 easy swaps to increase your fibre intake. If you did each of these swaps in a day, at only ONE serving of each food, you would add…..
35g of fibre!
Considering the daily minimum recommendation for women is 25g and for men it’s 38g, this is a significant change!
1) Cucumbers are tasty and are a good source of potassium but they’re a poor choice for fibre. Opt for red peppers, snap peas, broccoli, carrots, or celery instead and you’ll triple or quadruple the fibre. (0.3g vs 1-1.5g in half a cup)
2) If you’re eating raw veggies you’re also likely dipping them in something! Choose hummus instead of ranch. 1/4 cup of hummus has 3.6g of fibre while ranch, no matter how much you eat, has none.
3) Whole grains are always a higher fibre choice than refined grains but if you really want to up your fibre game, opt for barley! It makes a great substitute for brown rice and you’ll increase the fibre by nearly 5x! (6.7g vs 32g in 1 cup uncooked)
4) Substitute some of your regular breakfast cereal for Bran Buds (or other high fibre cereal like Fibre One). Bran Buds have (surprise, surprise) wheat BRAN, which is the outer husk of the wheat and psyllium husk, both excellent sources of fibre. For each 1/3 of a cup you sub in to your Cheerios, you’ll be adding 8.7g of fibre!
5) It’s no secret; I’m a huge fan of lentils! The lentil is a relative of black beans and chickpeas. It’s small, round, flat, and barely has a discernible taste of its own. This makes it a fantastic add-in to your favourite dishes. They make a great high fibre meat substitute. Each cup of cooked lentils has 15.6g of fibre! Compare that to ground beef, which has NONE! Just like the cereal, I recommend substituting out some of the meat for lentils. That is, if you’re not ready to give up the meat entirely! Check out this recipe for a taco meat that subs in lentils for some of the meat.
6) Keep the peels on your potatoes and you’ll increase the fibre by 40%! (2.3g vs 3.25g in a small potato)
7) All fruit is a good, healthy choice but this article is about strategically choosing high fibre foods. So if that’s your goal, raspberries are your best choice! 1 cup has 8g of fibre! Compare that to cantaloupe, which only rings in at 1.4g.
8) If you’re staring into your freezer trying to decide which veggie to pull out as a side dish, go for peas if you want a high fibre choice! While corn only has 2.9g in 1 cup, peas weigh in at 6g!
9) Choose for Ryvita or other high fibre flat crisps instead of refined crackers like Stoned Wheat Thins. You’ll triple the amount of fibre!
10) As a general rule of thumb, the less processed a food is, the higher it will be in fibre. When reaching for a salty snack, pop some popcorn on your stove instead of cracking open a bag of chips! There’s 3x more fibre in popcorn than chips. You also get the added health bonus of controlling the amount of fat and salt used.
Well, I could go on all day but I think 10 swaps gives you some good ideas! Which one will you choose to add fibre to your diet?
*note: most nutrition info was sourced from the USDA National Nutrient Database. Brand information was taken from the respective brand’s site or package.
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