Get friendly with fibre this March

07 March 2016

Toronto -

Did you know that a diet high in fibre can reduce your risk of colorectal cancer? March is Colorectal Cancer Month, which is a great time to take stock of how much fibre you’re getting.Fibre

What is fibre?

Fibre is the part of food that your body cannot digest. It is good for you in many ways. Besides reducing your risk of colorectal cancer, fibre helps keep your digestive system healthy and your bowels regular. And it can help you maintain a healthy body weight, which can reduce your risk of other cancers.

Where can I find it?

Vegetables, fruit, whole grains and legumes are all high in fibre. It can be very easy to include these foods in your diet. For example, switching up pasta dishes by using whole wheat pasta instead or leaving the skin on potatoes before you mash them are 2 simple ways to incorporate more fibre into your diet.

How much fibre do I need in my diet?

Health Canada encourages adult Canadians to get 21 to 38 grams of fibre each day, although how much you should have varies depending on your age and sex. Foods high in fibre can be identified on their nutrition labels – if there are at least 4 grams of fibre per serving, then the food is considered high in fibre.

How much fibre is in…

Apples: 3.5 g per medium apple

Brussel sprouts: 3.1 g in 4 sprouts

Bananas: 2.1 g per medium banana

Kidney beans: 8.1g per ¾ cup

Lentils: 6.2g per ¾ cup

Sweet potatoes: 3 g in half a medium sweet potato

Raspberries: 5 g in half a cup

Fibre: did you know?

  • Look at the ingredients list rather than the colour of the foods. Some brown bread is simply white bread coloured with molasses. The first ingredient should be a whole grain such as whole grain wheat, oats, whole grain corn, barley, or brown or wild rice.
  • Juices don’t give you as much fibre and won’t make you feel as full as actually eating vegetables or fruit. Choose whole vegetables and fruit.
  • Fibre increases the bulk of stools and speeds up the movement of food through the colon, which could reduce the absorption of potential carcinogens by the lining of the colon.
  • Drink extra fluids when adding more fibre to your diet. Fibre and fluids work together to help maintain a healthy colon.

Learn more about how to make friends with fibre and reduce your risk of colorectal cancer.

Other ways to prevent colorectal cancer

There is strong evidence that eating a healthy diet can prevent colorectal cancer. It’s especially important to:

  • Limit the amount of red meat that you eat and avoid processed meats.
  • Limit eating meat, poultry and fish cooked at high temperatures.
  • Limit the amount of alcohol that you drink.
  • Be a non-smoker and avoid second-hand smoke.
You can learn more about ways to reduce your risk of cancer by using our interactive prevention tool at www.itsmylife.cancer.ca.