A high fibre diet can reduce the risk of constipation, irritable bowel syndrome and can help prevent bowel cancer.
What is fibre?
Fibre is indigestible plant material such as cellulose, lignin and pectin, and it is found in fruits, vegetables, grains and beans. Fibre provides bulk to your food, helps it pass easily through the gut, and retains water so it makes you feel full and eat less.
There are two types of fibre: soluble and insoluble. The soluble fibre in foods such as apples, citrus fruits, oats, dried peas, beans and lentils, dissolves in water and forms a thick gel in your stomach, slowing the rate of digestion and absorption. In moderation, these fibres feed intestinal bacteria and nourish the cells of the large intestine. This process may stimulate healing and reduce the development of cancer.
Insoluble fibre can be found in foods such as wheat bran, whole grains and some vegetables. While not feeding bacteria as well as soluble, researchers believe insoluble fibre can deactivate intestinal toxins, and a high intake may decrease the risk of bowel cancer.