June is Bowel Cancer Awareness month- the facts on FIBRE
Fibre is made up of the indigestible parts or compounds of plants, which pass relatively unchanged through our stomach and intestines.
The main role of fibre is to keep the digestive system healthy, but did you know it can also help with stabilising blood glucose and cholesterol levels?!
- It is estimated that adults require at least 30g fibre daily, whereas children require 10g + their age (i.e. an 8 year old requires 18g/day).
- Due to possible nutrient interactions, regular intake greater than 50g/day is not recommended.
- Slows gastric emptying, slows glucose absorption, binds to other nutrients which reduces the absorption, slows GI transit time
- Dietary sources: vegetables, fruits, oat products, psyllium, lentils, dried beans, and soy products
- Adds bulk to the faeces, reduces GI transit time, and increases the water-holding capacity of undigested components
- Insoluble fibre is the most important form of fibrefor keeping our bowels ‘regular’ and for preventing and controlling constipation.
- Dietary sources: rice bran, corn bran, wheat bran, nuts, seeds, whole grain foods, and skins of fruits and vegetables
An adult could easily achieve 30g fibre in one day through eating foods such as:
- 1 bowl sultana bran or bran-flakes
- 2 slices multigrain or wholegrain bread
- An apple and a banana
- 3 vegetables with dinner
- 1/2 cup kidney beans thrown in with the pasta sauce or stew
- 30g almonds as a snack
- It is important to drink enough fluid to allow fibre to do its job by absorbing fluid into the large intestine to ‘soften’ the stools, making them easier to pass.
- Aim to drink at least 8 glasses of fluid daily – more on hot days and after strenuous exercise.
- Regular exercise is very important for good bowel function. Try to include a form of aerobic exercise, such as walking, riding a bike or swimming every day.
Example of some other fibre options
Food Fibre g/serve Source of fibre
- All Bran cereal (1/2 cup) 9.5g Soluble
- Kidney Beans (1/2 cup) 8.2g Soluble
- Lentils, cooked (1/2 cup) 7.8g Soluble
- Ry-vita crackers, 2 5.0g Insoluble
- Asian pear, raw, small 4.4g Soluble
- Almonds, 30g 3.3g Soluble/insoluble
- Benefibre/ Metamucil 3.0g Soluble
- Broccoli, cooked, ½ cup 2.8g Insoluble/ soluble
- Kiwi fruit, raw, 1 small 2.4g Soluble/insoluble
- Whole-wheat bread, 1 slice 2.0g Insoluble
- White bread, 1 slice 0.8g Insoluble
Written by our Eat Smart Sports Dietitian Zara Nance