Fibre is all over the media and you have probably seen the mention of fibre on food products, but do you really understand what fibre is? Firstly, fibre is the part of a plant which cannot be digested by your body. There are three types of fibre called soluble, insoluble and resistant starch. All three of these types play a different role in keeping your body healthy. If you are not sure what these roles are read on:
This is the type of fibre which acts like a bulking agent to make your stool comfortable to pass (the other two options are diarrhoea or constipation). How this fibre type works is it slows how quickly the carbohydrate you eat is broken down; this not only keeps you fuller for longer but prevents the unwanted spike of your blood sugar. This spike in blood sugar leads to a quick crash of energy and has you reaching for the muffin at work that you have tried so hard to avoid.
This type of fibre can also lower your ‘bad’ LDL- cholesterol through a compound known as beta glucan which is found in oats. Beta glucan attaches to your LDL-cholesterol and ultimately is excreted.
A third important point is that soluble fibre feeds the good bacteria in your gut (probiotics) just like resistant starch does. See below to why this is important.
Types of foods in which soluble fibre can be found:
- Legumes (kidney beans, chickpeas, soybeans etc.)
- Fruit and vegetables (especially in the skin, which is why you should try to eat the skins of fruits and vegetables whenever possible).
- South Australian Gourmet Food Company Fruit Pouches contain soluble fibre. This added fibre helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer and creates a steady release of sugars into your bloodstream after a meal.
This type of fibre is your friend especially if you are prone to constipation as it keeps you regular.
Where can you find this fibre type?
- Wheat bran
- Brown rice like in Wholegrain Rice Thins
- Wholegrain cereals
- Wholegrain pastas
This is the type of fibre which has been front and centre in the media. Resistant starch promotes the development of the good bacteria in your gut. This type of bacteria is supported in research to help improve your immunity, keep a healthy metabolism which ultimately leads to you having a healthy weight as well as improving your mood. 70% of the serotonin or feel good hormone is made in your gut and you have something called the brain-gut axis which is a strong connection between your brain and gut. Ultimately if your gut is happy so are you!
What happens when your good bacteria are taken over by bad strains? This leads to you getting sick easily, a slower metabolism, increased allergies, and autoimmune diseases like arthritis.
Where can you find this fuel for health?
- Unripened bananas
- Green and black tea
- Cooked and cooled wholegrain pasta, potatoes, and rice and wholegrain varieties.
Take home message: All three types of fibre are important for your health. Try eating wholegrains, vegetables, nuts, seeds, fruit or a South Australian Gourmet Food Company Fruit Pouch with each meal and snack. This habit should easily meet your needs for all three type of fibre which is 25g a day for women and 30g of fibre a day for men.
Ashleigh Feltham (MNutrDiet)
Feed Your Future Dietetics
Accredited Practising Dietitian | Accredited Nutritionist