At some point in life, you would have heard people saying "Fibre keep us regular", and this is the first thing we tell kids to encourage them to eat more vegetables. But fibre also provide many other benefits to our body!! Let's find out more!
Australians are consuming 20-25g fibre per day on average, which is lower than the recommended daily intake of 25g for female and 30g for male. Increasing our fibre intake is very helpful to improve our gut health and reduce the risk of many chronic diseases.
Fibres are generally classified into two types: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fibre absorbs water in your gut so that the bulk pass through the gut more easily. It also slows down the rate of digestion to reduce sugar absorption rate and help you feel full longer. It can also reduce blood cholesterol by binding to the bile acids (made with cholesterol) for excretion.
Fruit and vegetables, beans, lentils, peas, oat bran, barley, psyllium, flaxseed etc
Insoluble fibre doesn’t absorb water but adds bulk to faeces and to promote regular bowel movements
Skin of fruit and vegetables, wheat bran, rice bran, nuts and seeds, wholegrains etc
There is another fibre called resistant starch. It escapes the digestion in the stomach and passes through the guts to become a fuel for the bacteria in the large intestine. The bacteria ferment on the resistant starch to produce SCFA (short chain fatty acids) which enhances gut barrier integrity, immunity and mineral absorption such as calcium, magnesium and iron.
In a nutshell, increasing our fibre intakes can infer lots of health benefits no matter what types of fibre. Variety in our diet is always the key to a healthy tummy!
Here’s some tips to increase your fibre intake:
Choose wholegrain/ wholemeal / high fibre food products such as bread and pasta
Include variety of grains in your diet e.g. oats, quinoa, buckwheat, polenta etc
Have 5 serves of vegetable and 2 serves of fruits every day
Have wholegrain biscuits/ toasts, hummus, baked beans or handful of nuts as snacks