What is fibre? Fibre contains many beneficial nutrients, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants. It is the part of the plant that your body cannot absorb or digest. Fibre includes vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and legumes. It is type of a carbohydrate that helps keep our digestive systems healthy and helps keep us regular. There are three different types of fibre which all have different functions and health benefits.
Soluble fibre forms a gel-like material as it passes through the small intestine. It helps to slow the emptying process in our stomachs, which helps you feel fuller for longer. It also helps to lower cholesterol and stabilise your blood glucose levels. Soluble fibre is found in fruits, vegetables, oats, barley and legumes.
Insoluble fibre absorbs water to help soften the contents of our bowels and helps keep us regular. It also helps to keep us full and keep the bowel environment healthy. Insoluble fibre is found in wholegrain breads and cereals, nuts, seeds, wheat bran and the skin of fruit and vegetables.
Resistant starch is not digested in the small intestine and instead proceeds to the large intestine where it can assist in the production of good bacteria and improves bowel health. Resistant starch is found in undercooked pasta, under ripe bananas, cooked and cooled potato and rice.
Why is fibre important? Dietary fibre is important for our digestive health, regular bowel movements and prevention of weight gain. Fibre also helps keep you fuller for longer, can improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels and can assist in preventing some diseases such as diabetes and heart disease
Ideally, we want to be aiming for at least 30 grams per day if you are a male and 25 grams per day for female. However most of us consume much less than that. On average we consume just 22.1g and 17.5g, respectively.