Eating more fibre will cut people’s chances of heart disease and early death by up to a third, a new study has found.
A major new review published in The Lancet found that eating 25 to 30 grams fibre a day is linked to a significantly reduced risk of non-communicable diseases.
Fibre is found in all plant-based foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes. While fruit and vegetables play an important role in providing valuable fibre, it’s the grain fibres that are most effective.
Among those who ate the most fibre, the analysis found a 15 to 30 per cent reduction in deaths from all causes, as well as those related to heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and colorectal cancer.
The results mean 13 fewer deaths and six fewer cases of coronary heart disease for every 1,000 people who eat high-fibre foods compared with those who do not.
Despite its importance, Australians aren’t getting enough — research conducted by Nutritional Research Australia found that an alarming two in every three adults are not meeting their required fibre intake.
To achieve optimum health benefits it’s important to consume a balance of different fibres — soluble, insoluble and fermentable, and all play important roles in helping us maintain a healthy gut.
Soluble fibre helps to reduce cholesterol and manage blood sugar levels. This cholesterol-lowering type of fibre is found in fruits, vegetables and grains such as oats and barley. It can also be found in psyllium, beans and seeds.
Insoluble fibre, which is found in the bran of grains and in fruit and vegetable skins, travels into your colon where it helps to make your toilet visits more frequent.
Fermentable fibres feed all the bugs in the intestine, which helps to keep a balanced digestive system. This type of fibre can be found in beans, chickpeas, potatoes, rice, unripe bananas, cereal grains and onion.
If you’re not eating enough fibre at the moment, one of the easiest ways to add fibre to your diet is at breakfast time. Adding a handful of bran or nuts to your cereal provides additional fibre and other nutrients. Other ways include adding lentils or chickpeas to a stew or digging into some homemade hummus, which is an excellent source of fibre.