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 and ensures 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.
There are three different types of fibre which all have different functions and health benefits.
1. 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. Found in fruit, vegetables, oats, barley, and legumes.
2. 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. Found in wholegrain breads and cereals, nuts, seeds, wheat bran, and the skin of fruit and vegetables.
3. Resistant starch, as its name implies, resists digestion. But it assists in the production of good bacteria and improves bowel health. Found in undercooked pasta, under ripe bananas, cooked and cooled potato, and rice.
The recommended daily intake for fibre set by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine (USA) is 21-29 grams/day for women and 30-38 grams/day for men.
Note: 6g per 100g of fibre found in food is an excellent source and 3g of fibre per 100g is a good source.