What are the health benefits of the different types of fibre, and where do we get them from?
Dietary fibre is found in plant foods such as cereals, pulses, fruits and vegetables. Until recently it was thought to be completely indigestible, but now we know that some fibre can be broken down in the large intestine by gut bacteria. Eat a variety of fibre-rich foods for the best benefits. There are two main types of fibre:
This is found in good amounts in fruit, veg, oats, barley and pulses such as beans, lentils and peas. It forms a gel in the intestine that’s thought to slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates, especially glucose.
This helps to keep blood sugar levels steady and prevents energy dips which leave you reaching for sugary snacks. Beta-glucan is a soluble fibre that binds with cholesterol and prevents it being reabsorbed into the bloodstream. This helps lower the risk of heart disease.
This tends to be found in larger amounts in cereal grains. Wholemeal flour and bread, wholegrain breakfast cereals, brown rice and wholemeal pasta are all good sources. This type of fibre is vital for a healthy digestive system. It’s been linked to helping to prevent bowel complaints, from constipation to cancer, as it assists the smooth passage of food through the body.
And for a delicious, high-fibre way to start the day, see our fruit and fibre breakfast shake.