Managing Diabetes Magazine - diabetes
Fill up on Fibre
Simple suggestions to improve blood glucose control
Fibre has health benefits for everyone. By getting enough, you reduce the risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, control blood glucose, and keep the bowels regular. Yet most Canadians only get half the amount of fibre they need to be healthy.
Fibre is the part of plant foods that your body cannot digest. It is found in many foods:
- vegetables and fruit
- grain products
- nuts and seeds
- and legumes like beans, peas and lentils.
Fibre and diabetes
Fibre helps control blood glucose by slowing the release of sugar into your blood. It also fills you up, leaving less room for other carbohydrate-rich foods that can raise blood glucose. The Canadian Diabetes Association recommends 25 to 50 grams of fibre per day if you have diabetes. To get this amount, include some higher fibre foods in each meal.
- Reading nutrition labels can help you to select higher fibre foods. Look for four or more grams of fibre, or 15 per cent daily value.
- Drink extra fluids when you increase your fibre intake. Select water most often.
You can increase fibre in your diet in many ways. Think about what you usually eat and how you might include more fibre. Make gradual changes, so your body has time to adjust. These suggestions can help get you started.
- Enjoy seven to 10 servings of vegetables and fruit per day.
- Choose oatmeal or cereal with added psyllium.
- Eat whole wheat bread and pasta. If you do not like whole wheat, try white bread or pasta with added fibre.
- Use barley, quinoa, corn or millet in soup or side dishes.
- Make plain popcorn as a snack.
- Top yogurt and cereal with bran, flax seed, chia seed or hemp seed.
- Snack on unsalted nuts and seeds.
- Heat baked beans or minestrone soup for lunch.
- Replace some of the ground meat in a recipe with textured vegetable protein (TVP). Try it in chili, pasta sauce or taco filling.
- Add lentils or kidney beans to pasta sauce, chili or soup.
- Top your salad with canned beans, chickpeas or lentils.
Getting more fibre does not have to be complicated. Simply watch for higher fibre versions of foods that you already buy, or boost the fibre in foods you already enjoy. With a few simple changes, you can increase your fibre and better control your blood glucose.
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