According to current Canadian guidelines, healthy adults should consume at least 26 grams of fibre – ideally 26 to 35 grams daily*. The present Canadian fibre intake only averages 4.5 to 11 grams a day.
Fibre is often divided into two broad classes: insoluble and soluble forms.
Insoluble fibre makes stools heavier and speeds their passage through the gut. Like a sponge, it absorbs many times its weight in water, swelling up and helping to eliminate feces and relieve constipation. Wheat bran and whole grains, as well as the skins of many fruits and vegetables, and seeds, are rich sources of insoluble fibre. High-fibre diets have replaced bland, low-residue treatments for bowel problems such as diverticular disease.
Soluble fibre includes pectin, gums (such as guar), betaglucans, some hemicellulose and other compounds and is found in oats, legumes (peas, kidney beans, lentils), some seeds, brown rice, barley, oats, fruits (such as apples), some green vegetables (such as broccoli) and potatoes. Soluble fibre breaks down as it passes though the digestive tract, forming a gel that traps some substances related to high cholesterol.
For ideas on how to increase fiber content through whole foods, watch the video below.