It promotes a healthy gut
Not all fibre is created equal. But there are certain kinds that act as a prebiotic, meaning they feed the gut bacteria that keep our body healthy. “You have fibres that are very good prebiotics—they selectively stimulate good gut bacteria,” explains Jane Muir, head of Translational Nutrition Science at Monash University’s Department of Gastroenterology. “Those good prebiotic fibres are found in rye bread, legumes, pulses, onion, leeks, garlic, artichokes, cashews and nuts like pistachios.”
It can slash your cancer risk
Another reason we’re excited about fibre? It can lower your risk of colorectal and bowel cancer. According to Muir, prebiotic fibre, such as resistant starch, produces short-chain fatty acids. “One of the short-chain fatty acids it produces is called butyrate, which promotes healthy cells and at a metabolic level, helps to ensure that cells don’t become carcinogenic,” she adds. With a whole range of positive effects, it’s essential for the health of the colon and helps protect your gut lining. What’s not to love?
It fights obesity and type 2 diabetes
There’s a reason you want soluble fibre in your flat-belly arsenal. Research published in the journal Obesity found that eating more soluble fibre (think beans, fruit and vegetables) targets visceral fat, which is linked to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. Every additional 10g (think two small apples or a cup of green peas) can reduce visceral fat by 3.7% over five years. What’s more, it helps naturally lower blood glucose levels and can help keep bad ‘LDL’ cholesterol at bay
It dials down heart disease
In Australia, women are three times more likely to lose their lives to heart disease than breast cancer, but a daily dose of fibre significantly lowers that risk. One 2013 review published in the British Medical Journal found that there was a significant reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease for every additional 7g of dietary fibre consumed each day. What does that look like? All it takes is a portion of beans or lentils or two to four servings of fruit and veg.