Types of Dietary Fibre
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What is fibre?
Fibre is the indigestible parts of plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and legumes. It is type of a carbohydrate that helps keep our digestive systems healthy.
There are three different types of fibre — soluble, insoluble and resistant starch. All are important for the health, digestion, and prevention of diseases within the body.
- Soluble fibre
Attracts water and turns to gel during digestion. This slows digestion. Soluble fibre is found in oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, and some fruits and vegetables. It is also found in psyllium, a common fibre supplement. Some types of soluble fibre may help lower risk of heart disease.
Soluble fibre helps to slow the emptying process in our stomachs, which helps you feel fuller. It also helps to lower cholesterol and stabilise your blood glucose levels.
- Insoluble fibre Absorbs water to help to soften the contents of our bowels and support regular bowel movements. It also helps to keep us full and keep the bowel environment healthy. It is found in foods such as wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains. It adds bulk to the stool and appears to help food pass more quickly through the stomach and intestines.
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.
Eating foods rich in resistant starch nourishes your gut bacteria, which helps maintain intestinal health and reduces the risk of developing colorectal cancer. Resistant starch is found in many whole plant foods, but the amount can vary depending on how the food is processed.
The type of fibre in your diet, as well as your gut health, play a major role in harnessing fibre’s health potential while avoiding its potential pitfalls.
Soluble fibre, like that found in cucumbers, blueberries, beans, and nuts, dissolves into a gel-like texture, helping to slow down your digestion. This helps you to feel full longer and is one reason why fibre may help with weight control.
Insoluble fibre, found in foods like dark green leafy vegetables, green beans, celery, and carrots, does not dissolve at all and helps add bulk to your stool. This helps food to move through your digestive tract more quickly for healthy elimination. Many whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables, naturally contain both soluble and insoluble fibre.
Why is fibre important?
Dietary fibre is important for our digestive health and regular bowel movements.
Fibre also helps you feel fuller for longer, can improve cholesterol and blood sugar levels and can assist in preventing some diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and bowel cancer.
Eating a variety of plant-based foods will help you get enough fibre each day.
How much fibre do I need?
Gender Acceptable intake (over 18 years)
Males 30g per day
Females 25g per day
Sources of fibre
|Food||Serving size||Fibre content|
|Wholemeal pasta||1 cup||7.9g|
|Carrot (skin on)||1 cup||6.9g|
|Corn||1 medium cob||5.9g|
|Rolled oats||1/2 cup||4.5g|
|Wholemeal biscuit||2 biscuits||4.2g|
|Broccoli (skin on)||1 cup||3.8g|
|Sweet potato (skin on)||1 cup||3.7g|
|Brown rice||1 cup||2.7g|
|Almond||30g (25 almonds)||2.6g|
|Dried apricot||30g (5 dried)||2.5g|
|Wholegrain bread||1 slice||2.4g|
|Psyllium husk||1 tablespoon||2.2g|
|Popcorn (air popped)||1 cup||1.2g|