How much fibre do you really need?

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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

Free online workouts

What’s better than getting fit and seeing results? Doing it all for free! We’ve rounded up the best of the best online workouts, and you’ll be feeling the burn in no time.

GET IN SHAPE
AT NO COST TO YOU

Put a stop to muffin top

The best part of a muffin is the top, right? But not when it’s hanging over your jeans. It’s uncomfortable, unflattering and unwanted. XHIT is promising to rid us of our not-so-lovely love handles. With eight core exercises, you’ll be on your way to a muffin-topless life in only 10 minutes a day. Planks are perfection for your posture and for targeting that rebellious overhang. The starfish crunch is just as fun as it sounds and really engages those core muscles.

Feel the rhythm

Blogilates is your one-stop shop for getting your groove on while shedding those glutinous indulgences. Most of Cassy’s videos are under 15 minutes, and you can bet she’ll get your heart rate elevated quickly. It’s never too early to be thinking about bikini season, and with the Hot Summer POP Cardio Dance Workout, you’ll be bathing suit ready. Plus, maybe you can use a few of those moves when you’re out there on the dance floor this weekend.

Be the biggest loser

Be Fit’s goal is to help you “transform yourself.” Their YouTube channel boasts a variety of exercise videos. Feel free to peruse your options, but for this article’s sake, I’ve chosen to highlight “America’s Toughest Trainer,” Jillian Michaels. You’ll feel like Jillian is in your living room, and let me tell you, the lady gets results. I bought her 30-day Shred on DVD a few years ago in preparation for a wedding down South, but you can enjoy it for free. You won’t be sorry, just a little sore (beware of the butt kicks).

Pirouette your way to a smaller waistline

I’m partial to this next one, because any instructor who places a sweatband on a puppy has my vote.Jessica Smith and her pup, Peanut, will sweat their way into your heart. Have you dreamed of being a prima ballerina but maybe lack the coordination (like this writer)? Fret not! You can still share the same physique. Jessica will sculpt you into tip-top shape. You’ll confidently take centre stage after a few pliés.

Fitness for two

Besties Karena and Katrina might inspire you and your BFF to Tone It Up. The pair of perfect 10s have their own reality show on Bravo, aptly called Toned Up. The beach-ready babes have teamed up with Victoria’s Secret to create the Love Your Body series. Karena and Kat want you to discover a confident, fit and fierce you. The fabulous females say there’s a side of you that you never knew existed, a strength deep inside you that is ready to drive you toward your dreams and goals. What are you waiting for? HIIT play on this High-intensity Interval Training workout now!

More on fitness

Why everyone should run a marathon at least once
Belly fat-busting tips
4 Great leg workouts for the new year

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New Year’s resolutions made easy

KEEP YOUR WORD IN 2014

Resolutions don’t typically work, because making drastic changes are a set-up for failure. Small changes over time are the way to go, so we’ve reworked those so-called resolutions to make sure they last all the year through.

New year resolution to-do notes | Sheknows.ca

Can’t lose weight?

Get off the treadmill! Fitness expert Jim Karas says that if weight loss is your long-term goal, then there is only one way to achieve it, and that is with strength training. Incorporate a workout regimen likecalisthenics into your routine, and introduce weights into the program for more of a challenge. If you weren’t a gym member in 2013, you won’t need to be in 2014 — your body and a few dumbbells are all you need.

Eat like the Greeks
Apple | Sheknows.ca

They invented the alphabet and democracy, and they also created a healthy way to eat. A Mediterranean diet consists of mostly plant-based foods, fish and poultry, uses olive oil rather than butter and favours herbs and spices over salt for flavouring. The Mayo Clinic reports that an analysis of over 1.5 million healthy adults maintained that a Mediterranean diet reduced the risk of heart disease and cancer-related deaths in addition to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. You’ll look and feel like a goddess in no time!

TIP

Track your progress by monitoring what you’re ingesting with a food journal, and tape it to the fridge.

Be cheap

Saving seems nearly impossible with all the expenses that add up, but skip out on that latte at least once a week, and put that money in a jar. Save your receipts, see where your money is going, and assess where you can make cuts. But best of all, plan out your spending with a budget. Financial guru Dave Ramsey says, “Spend every dime on paper before the month begins.” You’ll have a clear idea of where every dollar needs to go and realize there might be a little left over for your rainy-day fund.

Get social (and save a life)

Not online, but the old-fashioned way — surround yourself with friends and family. Make it a point to spend time with those who matter to you. According to Scientific American, the health benefits of social relationships and increased contact with loved ones include a decreased risk of death in young women with breast cancer. So stop saying you should hang out, and have Siri block off a day and time in the ol’ iPhone.

Become a frequent flyerRoad map | Sheknows.ca

Make like George Clooney in Up in the Air, and start earning travel rewards by travelling. The excuse of no money, while valid, is still just an excuse. Don’t wait for the right time, because there will always be a reason not to do something. So start packing, because your vacation awaits thanks to SheKnows’ thrifty travel tips. But first, head to the bank, open up a savings account specifically for travel, and arrange for a portion of your paycheque to automatically be deposited.

Turn off the TV

Have you been PVR’ing a show just because you’ve been a fan forever, but you’re not really into it? Give up one show, and gain 30 to 60 minutes each week. The more time spent in front of a screen means less physical activity, which increases your chances of becoming overweight and developing type 2 diabetes. A recent study found that those who watched more than two hours of TV a day ate more (and usually not carrots, but the other C-word: chips and other processed snacks). The average Canadian spends 30 hours a week watching TV, which makes cutting back to 29.5 entirely doable.

Try something new

The unknown can be daunting, but once you commit to an idea, you’re halfway there. Been meaning to try yoga but just can’t muster up the courage to attend in all your spandex glory? Then buy a DVD, and sweat it out from the comfort of your home. As Thomas Jefferson once said, “If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” Jefferson sounds much like a yogi to us.

Volunteering decreases depression

Spend time helping others, and reduce your risk of depression. Volunteering keeps you social and interacting with others while developing a strong support system, which in turn protects you against stress and depression when you fall upon tough times, say the experts at helpguide.org. Go on down to your local soup kitchen, animal shelter or retirement community, and see how you can lend your skills and be of service. Better yet, grab a friend or the whole family, and band together to do good.

Reading equals more brain power

Maybe you can’t get away right now, but you can go on an imaginary journey. Read your way to an exotic location. Draw a bath, light a few candles, and escape from the every day. Not only does reading do wonders to calm the mind, but researchers claim it helps to preserve those brain cells and memory into old age.

Mandatory date nightRose | Sheknows.ca

Perhaps you once scoffed at the idea of having to make time for each other, but with the kids’ after-school programs and weekend activities, once a week is unrealistic. The first Friday of every month (or any day of the week that’s convenient for you) is now your designated date night. Go with your partner to a new restaurant in the city, and enjoy alone time, talking about adult things with your spouse.

We would like to wish you all the best for the coming year, and hope this list helps you be bold and get noticed in 2014.

More ways to be bold in 2014

Your get-ahead plan at work
New tricks to try in the bedroom

Simple ways to show your love

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