Fibre seems to be a buzzing nutritional component these days, with many brands wanting to show off the amount of fibre in their product.
Today, we are taking a deep dive into the world of fibre, and how it can play an important role in sustaining blood sugar levels.
What is dietary fibre? It’s essentially the parts of plant foods that your body can’t digest or absorb. It can be further broken down into two types: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble Fibre: attracts water and forms a gel. This in turn lowers blood cholesterol levels, controls blood glucose (sugar) levels and slows the digestion of food, so you feel full longer. This includes dates, and Liva date products
How does that translate to our plate? Sources like oat bran, barley, psyllium, nuts and seeds, dried beans, peas, and lentils and vegetables and fruit.
Insoluble Fibre: helps to increase stool bulk. Additionally, improve constipation and promote a healthy digestive system and regular bowel movements. This can be found in the skins of vegetables and fruit, and whole grains.
Dieticians of Canada recommends that women should consume 25g of fibre per day, and men should consume 38g of fibre per day.
While that seems manageable, meeting these recommendations is harder than it may seem. In fact, most Canadians are only consuming on average half of the recommended amounts.
Why increase your intake of dietary fibre?
- Improve the diversity of your microbiota
- Improve constipation and lactose intolerance
- Enhance immunity
- Reduce inflammation in your gut
Now what? How do I incorporate more fibre into my diet? Here are 5 strategies to easily incorporate more fibre!
Incorporate more Fruit and Vegetables
We could all benefit from incorporating more fruits and vegetables into our diet. Keeping the skin on fruit where possible is a great way boost your fibre intake. Choosing fruits high (3-4g per serving) in fibre like; apples, pears, blueberries (1 cup) and strawberries (1 cup) and vegetables with (3-4g per serving) like sweet potatoes, cauliflower, carrot to name a few is a simple way incorporate more fibre.
Choose whole grains and legumes
Switching to whole grain pasta, breads and rice is a simple way to drastically boost the fibre you consume. Additionally, incorporating more legumes is a strategy to diversify the fibre rich protein sources in your diet. Legumes are high in resistant starches. Resistant starches work like fibre but are fermented by bacteria in the colon and improve gut health. Consuming more legumes is a simple way to increase fibre intake and consume more plant-based sources of protein which have been shown to reduce inflammation.
Switch the way you sweet
Have you ever considered the nutritional components of the sweeteners you choose? While flavour is an important factor in your sweetener choice, fibre should be a factor to consider. Fibre plays an essential role in combating the rise in blood sugar when consume glucose rich foods. Liva date powder contains 1g of fibre per 1tsp. Honey, refined white sugar, and coconut sugar have 0g of fibre per 1tsp. This means that Liva date powder contains 4% our daily value of fibre and can be an easy swap for those who want to manage blood sugar and increase their fibre intake.
Read food labels
When’s the last time you considered if there is a higher fibre version of the food you consume? Next time you’re in the grocery store, stop, think and flip, and look at the % daily value of fibre found in the packaged foods you buy.
Remember that; 5% DV or less is a little and 15% DV or more is a lot for all nutrients. You might be surprised what find.
Create a “fibre topper”
Combine your favorite nuts, seeds, and warm spices with Liva date powder to a jar. Simply add to oatmeal, on top of smoothies, and yogurt bowls to instantly boost the fibre and flavour of your favorite meals without thinking twice!
Looking for recipes to get inspired, head to the recipes page on our blog!
Most importantly, understand that change takes time, and our bodies prefer subtle sustained improvements to our diets. While recommendations are important, listen to your individual needs. Increasing fibre too quickly may cause gastrointestinal destress so it is essential to incorporate more fibre slowly throughout the day and remaining adequately hydrated.
This article was developed by Emma BscFN (c), our resident dietetics student.
*Note that this article is intended for informational purpose only and is not intended as medical or direct nutritional advice. Please consult your medical doctor or individual counseling with a registered dietician to determine what isbest for your unique needs.