How much fibre do you really need?

All bran cereal | Sheknows.ca

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FIBRE KEEPS THAT TUMMY TRIM

First things first: Fibre is your friend. Make sure fibre RSVPs to every meal, because it’s the life of the party and it keeps things going — literally. Fibre is largely responsible for those bathroom visits.

The facts on fibre

Fibre works as a bulking agent, training our intestinal muscles to push waste out of the body, which helps to prevent constipation, says Dominika Zarzeczny, B.Sc., N.D. “The amount of stool we expel per day is largely dependent on the amount of fibre we consume, so more fibre means more regularity.”

Soluble or insoluble, both types of fibre have their perks. Soluble fibre slows down digestion and keeps you feeling full, which is great when keeping an eye on your weight. It’s also helpful in controlling diabetes and cholesterol. Fibre can be found in oatmeal, lentils, apples, oranges, pears, oat bran, strawberries, beans, blueberries, carrots and the list goes on.

Leave the bloat behind

Did you know?

Fibre is also an important fuel source for the healthy bacteria living in our intestines, making for healthier bowelInsoluble fibres act like a natural laxative. They are present in the skins of vegetables and fruits and in the bran portion of whole grains. “Insoluble fibre passes through the gastrointestinal tract largely unchanged, helping to promote a regular and healthy digestive system,” says Zarzeczny.

Whole wheat, wheat bran, seeds, nuts, dark leafy vegetables, raisins and grapes are just some sources of insoluble fibre.

Fibre it up

Women aged 19 to 50 require approximately 25 grams of fibre a day. Incorporating fruits, vegetables and whole grains into your diet is a simple way to meet that quota quickly. For instance, Zarzeczny says, an apple consumed with the skin or a cup of broccoli both contain about 5 grams of fibre. A cup of cooked lentils contains 16 grams, and a cup of whole-wheat spaghetti contains just over 6 grams of fibre. Add that up, and you’re already looking at 27 grams of fibre (and you’ve reached your recommended daily intake).

A cup of split peas and black beans each provides about 15 grams of fibre per cup. Green peas make an excellent side dish, and a cup contains about 9 grams of fibre. Grab a handful of almonds — or 23, to be exact — which provides 3.5 grams of fibre and makes for a perfect snack.

FACT:

Bran is rich in fibre and essential fatty acids, and it contains significant amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Flaxseed fan club

Looking to increase your digestive wellness? Zarzeczny recommends flaxseeds, the “Cadillac of fibre.” Not only are they an excellent source of soluble fibre, but they also contain essential fatty acids and lignans (chemical compound found in plants), she says, and the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid found in flaxseeds has been shown to help prevent heart disease. Lignans also have powerful antioxidant properties shown to help reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Make bran your breakfast

Kick-start your metabolism with the most important meal of the day by tossing fibre into the mix:

  • Eat the skins and seeds of vegetables and fruits.
  • Use whole-grain bread when making toast.
  • Add Kellogg’s All-Bran buds to your yogurt.
  • Add a small handful of almonds or other nuts to your cereal.
  • Grab a Kellogg’s All-Bran bar when you’re on the go in between classes or meetings, and it will carry you through to lunch.

TELL US:

How do you get your daily fibre fix? Tell us in the comments section below.

More on fibre

Homemade, super-healthy fruit and seed bars
8 Tasty ways to get more fibre
3 Ancient grains you should be eating

Article sponsored by Kellogg’s All-Bran
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Be your own gym

TONE UP
IN 30 MINUTES

We all know exercise is vital for a healthy lifestyle, but gym memberships are costly. Enjoy an equipment-free workout at home with calisthenics.

Healthy woman | Sheknows.ca

Flatten the flab

If you’re a crunch aficionado, start with two sets of 25 reps, which burns approximately 50 calories.

Work at a set for a few weeks, and then increase as your muscles strengthen. Or do 25 reps of four sets. Aside from a trim tummy, increasing core strength helps to alleviate back pain.

Woman doing crunches | Sheknows.ca

Now, prop yourself up on your elbows, and lift your knees and core off the floor. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds. Drop down. Repeat three times.

Next, while lying on your back, take your right elbow to meet your left knee, and scissor to make the left elbow meet your right knee. Do 10 reps of three sets.

Discover five fitness tips to help you look and feel younger >>

Arm-aggedon

Woman doing push-ups | Sheknows.ca

Fancy yourself Jennifer Aniston’s envy-inducing extremities? Set yourself up for push-ups. Do three sets of 10 reps at 30-second intervals.

Next, grab a chair, and place your palms at the edge of the seat. Extend your legs, and lower your butt down toward the floor. Continue this upward and downward motion for two sets of 10 reps to burn 50 calories.

Glam gams

Woman doing lunges | Sheknows.ca

Lunge your way to leaner legs! Step forward with one foot to form a 90-degree angle as the knee from your other leg lowers to the ground. Don’t drop completely; let your knee hover above the floor. Alternate legs so each leg lunges 10 times. You can either stand in one place as you switch legs or take a stroll as each step propels you forward.

Two sets of 10 reps will knock off roughly 50 calories.

Next, stand against a wall, and slide your torso down until you’re in a seated position against the wall. Count to 30, get up, and shake it off. In 30 seconds, get ready to do it again.

Posterior perfection

Woman doing leg curls | Sheknows.ca

Get on all fours, extend your leg back, and bend your knee to form a 90-degree angle. Switch legs, and repeat 10 times.

Feel free to take a break or move right into peeing dog (for lack of a better name). Lift your leg out toward the side to form another 90-degree angle. Do 10 reps on each side. Return to the previous step and then back to this one for a final time.

To close your workout, end in a child’s pose, and then push back into downward dog. Now you can carry on with your day.

The number of sets and reps are solely suggestions and should be customized to your comfort and skill level. Remember, slow and steady wins the race. Incorporate this regimen into your daily routine for a more fit future.

More workout tips

What to eat after a workout
5 Benefits of working out with a friend
Interactive workout systems take fitness to a new level

 

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