The Benefits of Fibre

The Benefits of Fibre

As we know this month is Bowel Cancer awareness Month. As we are coming to an end of the month it is important that we keep in mind how we can reduce the risk of bowel cancer. While no cancer is completely preventable, you can lower your risk of bowel cancer by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. One thing that sometimes gets forgotten about is the importance of Fibre in our diets.

Dietary fibre is so important for a healthy digestive system. Fibre is indigestible plant material such as cellulose, lignin and pectin, found in fruits, vegetables, grains and beans. There are two types of fibre – soluble and insoluble.Both types are present, in varying degrees, in all plant foods. Soluble fibre can’t be digested, but it absorbs water to become a gelatinous substance that passes through the body.

Good sources of soluble fibre include fruits, oat bran, barley, beans, lentils, peas, soy milk and soy products. Insoluble fibre is mostly unchanged as it passes through the body and adds bulk to faeces. Good sources include wheat, corn and rice bran, nuts, seeds and wholegrain foods.


Benefits of Increasing your Fibre Intake

  • Fibre provides bulk to your food, helps it pass easily through the gut, and retains water so it makes you feel full and eat less.
  • Fibre is important in aiding digestion. Soluble fibre soaks up water, which helps to plump out the faeces, and allows it to pass through the gut more easily. It slows down the rate of digestion, and this is then counteracted by insoluble fibre, which speeds up the time that food takes to pass through the gut.
  • A lack of fibre, particularly insoluble fibre, can lead to gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, colon cancer and haemorrhoids.


How much fibre is enough?

According to Bowel Cancer Australia; Reports suggest women should be eating 25g of fibre each day and men 30g of fibre each day, yet most of us probably eat around 10-12g. A banana contains 1.8g of fibre, as does 1 slice of wholemeal bread.


10 great sources of Fibre

1. Whole grain breads and cereals; whole wheat, cracked wheat, multigrain or dark rye

2. Lentils and Legumes

3. Chia Seeds

4. Sweet Potato

5. Apples

6. Broccoli

7. Prunes

8. Oatmeal

9. Brown Rice

10. Oats