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Canadians not getting enough fibre in their diet: naturopathic doctor

How to add more fibre to your diet with Dr. Joyce Johnson
WATCH: Naturopathic doctor Joyce Johnson explains what fibre is and how to reach the daily recommended intake.

Fibre is often touted as an important component of a healthy diet, but how much fibre do you really need?

According to naturopathic doctor Joyce Johnson, the daily recommended intake for an adult is between 21 to 38 grams of fibre.

“The average Canadian is getting 14 grams of fibre per day,” Johnson said, “so absolutely, we’re falling short.”

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Johnson said fibre provides many health benefits and it’s important to consume both soluble and insoluble fibre.

Insoluble fibre can’t be broken down and absorbed by the body, Johnson said, so it provides bulk to the digestive tract.

“You can think of these as whole grains,” Johnson added., “They’re like the skins, the seeds, and the leaves of vegetables.”

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Soluble fibre on the other hand dissolves within the colon. It helps control blood sugar levels and lower cholesterol. Soluble fibre includes oatmeal, legumes and high pectin foods like apples, Johnson said.

Johnson recommended adding an avocado to a breakfast for a boost of 12 grams of fibre, or making a smoothie with whole fruits and vegetables.

“When it comes to snacking, you want to make sure you’re snacking on fruits and vegetables,” Johnson said. “They’re all going to be high in fibre.”

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Choosing legumes and whole grains are another way to increase a person’s daily intake of fibre, but adding ground flax seeds or chia to things like smoothies or oatmeal can also help, Johnson said.

She added that there are also products geared towards those who may be sensitive to fibre. Soluble fibre products help those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome reach their daily recommended intake without the bloating.