The Facts on Fibre
fibre’s not just for your nan!
Dietary fibre is found in foods of plant origin – fruit, vegetables, cereals, dried peas, beans, lentils and nuts. It’s the part of the food that is indigestible, which means it remains relatively unchanged through our stomach and intestines.
The main role of fibre is to keep the digestive system healthy. It is also thought that fibre lowers blood cholesterol by binding bile acids (which are made from cholesterol to digest dietary fats) and then excreting them. Cereal fibre seems to be best in protecting against coronary heart disease than the fibre from fruit and vegetables.
Fibre also contributes to stabilising glucose levels as it delays the absorption of sugars from the intestines. This assists prevent a rapid rise in blood insulin levels, which has been linked with diabetes.
Fibre also helps maintain a healthy weight. Fibrous foods are often bulky and, therefore, filling. They also tend to be low in fat. This helps us feel satisfied on less food and stay full for longer, therefore decreasing the amount of food consumed.
Most Australians don’t consume enough fibre. The Heart Foundation recommends that adults should consume approximately 30 grams daily. You can get 7 of these grams in a single wheatgrass shooter!
Diets high in fibre may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by 20-40%, may reduce the risk of colon cancer, may play a role in reducing and managing type 2 diabetes, and may help with weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight as fibre-containing foods help to keep us feeling fuller for longer.