The benefits of a high-fibre diet
Fibre, your body's friend
Fibre is important for maintaining a healthy digestive system, and because oats contain all three parts of the natural grain and are minimally processed they're a good source of dietary fibre. Even better, oats are also one of the few grains that naturally contain beta-glucan, a soluble fibre which helps lower cholesterol reabsorption^.
^A 40g serve of oats provides 1 g beta-glucan. Oats can help lower cholesterol reabsorption as part of a diet low in saturated fat. 3g of beta-glucan each day is required to help lower cholesterol reabsorption.
The three types of dietary fibre
- Soluble fibre can help lower cholesterol reabsorption. It's found in foods like oats, fruit, beans and barley.
- Insoluble fibre keeps your digestive system moving by adding bulk. It's found in foods like wholemeal bread, wheat bran, vegetables and nuts.
- Resistant starch functions like soluble fibre and is a source of good bacteria in our large intestine. It's found in grains, seeds and legumes, raw potatoes and unripe bananas, and in cooked potatoes and rice.
Why do we need fibre?
Dietary fibre is essential for keeping our digestive system healthy because it passes through our stomach and intestines undigested, and keeps things moving. Some types of fibre like beta-glucan, found in oat bran, psyllium and barley, also help lower cholesterol reabsorption.
How much fibre do we need?
Nutritionists recommend 30 grams of dietary fibre per day for an adult. Half of Australian adults don't consume enough, according to recent research*.
When you're looking for high-fibre breakfast cereals and snacks, use the following as a guide:
- Min 2g/serve = source of fibre
- Min 4g/serve = high in fibre
- Min 7g/serve = very high fibre
* Nestle 2009 commissioned fibre study
Tips for increasing your fibre intake
- Eating a variety of foods every day, including two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables, will help increase the fibre in your diet.
- If you are having trouble meeting your daily fibre requirements, change to a higher fibre breakfast cereal like Uncle Tobys Oats or Uncle Tobys Bran Plus.
- Try switching to wholegrain or wholemeal bread instead of white bread.
- Add salad items like lettuce, grated carrots and tomatoes to sandwiches.
- Snack on fruit, veggie sticks like carrots or celery, dried fruit or nuts.
- Try brown rice instead of white, or a mix of the two.
- Aim to have three different veggies on your dinner plate.
- Leave the skin on fruits such as apples and pears.
- Try to eat legumes once a week, like four bean mix, kidney beans or chickpeas. Add baked beans to a baked potato, and leave the skin on it.
- Remember to increase your water intake as you gradually increase your fibre intake.