Research shows that a diet high in fibre protects against colorectal cancer. It also reduces your risk of many other cancers because it helps you have a healthy body weight. Fibre helps keep the digestive system healthy and the bowels regular.
The good news is that vegetables, fruit, whole grains and legumes are all high in fibre. Fibre is the part of these foods that your body cannot digest. Health Canada recommends that adult Canadians get 21 to 38 grams of fibre each day for good health. How much you should have is different depending on your age and sex.
Making sure that you get enough fibre every day doesn’t have to be hard. Use some of these tips to get you started:
- Read the nutrition labels. High-fibre foods have at least 4 grams of fibre per serving.
- Eat a variety of vegetables and fruit each day.
- Choose foods made with whole grains rather than foods made with refined white flour.
- Try different breads including whole grain, multi grain, chapattis, whole wheat pitas, bagels, roti and tortillas.
- Go for bran or whole grain breakfast cereals or mix some in with your favourite cereal or on top of low-fat yogurt.
- Choose oatmeal more often. It’s a great warming winter breakfast.
- Try different grains such as whole wheat couscous, bulgur and cornmeal.
- Swap whole wheat pasta for regular pasta for a change.
- Eat a baked potato with the skin on instead of mashed potatoes. Or leave the skin on when you boil potatoes for mashing or cook in curries.
- Add beans or lentils to your soups, casseroles, stews and curries.
- Try chickpeas in salads, lentils in meatloaf or kidney beans in burritos.
- Serve hummus as a high-fibre dip with vegetables and whole wheat crackers instead of doughnuts or cookies at workplace meetings.
- Snack on dried fruit, nuts and seeds mid-afternoon or add them to yogurt.
- Add raisins and nuts to bread or muffin recipes.
- Add cooked lentils to pasta sauce, lasagna or soup.
- Sprinkle raw pumpkin seeds on cereal, salad or yogurt.Check out our Monthly Tips publication for more information about eating well and being active to reduce your cancer risk: http://www.cancer.ca/en/prevention-and-screening/live-well/monthly-tips-to-reduce-your-cancer-risk/ .
Article contributed by Elizabeth Holmes, MPH from Canadian Cancer Society