Fibre is the indigestible parts of plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and legumes. It is type of a carbohydrate that is important for 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.
In a varied wholefood diet, dietary fibre will come from fruit, vegetable wholegrains, nuts, legumes and pulses. For whatever reasons our diets are lacking in fibre or we need to increase our intake without increasing our food intake, a fiber supplement is available in the form of fiber tablets, fiber powder and even in fibre gummies. Natural fiber supplements for constipation relief can be safely taken long term unlike stimulating laxatives which are only recommended for short periods of use.
There are three different types of fibre which all have different functions and health benefits.
Soluble fibre may help to slow your body's breakdown of carbohydrates and the absorption of sugar, helping with blood sugar control. It makes you feel fuller and may also help to lower cholesterol. Soluble fibre is found in fruits, cucumbers, blueberries, beans, nuts, oats, barley and legumes.
Insoluble fibre does not dissolve at all and helps add bulk to your stool. It absorbs water to help to soften the contents of our bowels and support regular bowel movements. Insoluble fibre is found in foods like dark green leafy vegetables, green beans, celery, and carrots wholegrain breads and cereals, nuts, seeds, wheat bran and the skin of fruit and vegetables.
Resistant starch 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 beans/legumes, starchy fruits and vegetables, whole grains and some types of cooked then cooled foods (such as potatoes and rice) undercooked pasta, under ripe bananas, cooked and cooled potato and rice.
The Australian Heart Foundation recommends that adults should aim to consume approximately 25–30 g of fibre daily.
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