Sanitarium this week released a report outlining the health benefits of a high fibre diet – particularly in the area of disease prevention.
According to the report, a high fibre diet can…
• Improve immunity
• Fight inflammation
• Protect from obesity
• Prevent diabetes
• Lower risk of heart disease
• Guard against colorectal cancer
• Boost digestive health
• Does dietary fibre protect against asthma?
Additionally, fibre plays a role in the body’s immune responses, with Australian scientists suggesting low fibre ‘Western’ diets may have contributed to the rise in conditions such as asthma.
Dietary fibre has also been shows to have inflammatory benefits, offering protection against some of our most common lifestyle related diseases. In addition, ground-breaking new research shows dietary fibre, via the action of beneficial gut bacteria, plays a role in the body’s immune responses, with the dietary metabolites (or by-products) of fibre fermentation by gut bacteria, namely Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs), rapidly emerging as a major player in immune function.
And according to the World Health Organisation’s global report, “Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Disease”, only one dietary component had the “Convincing Evidence” required to demonstrate a protective effect against weight gain and obesity – and that was dietary fibre. Australia’s peak health authority, the National Health and Medical Research Council, also specifically identified the importance of dietary fibre in reducing obesity.
Here are their top 10 fibre-boosting tips for optimising health:
1. Instead of white bread, rice and pasta, go for grain based or wholemeal varieties of bread, and brown or wholemeal varieties of rice and pasta.
2. When buying cereals, look for wholegrains. Choose products with wholegrain ingredients at the beginning of the list (wheat, brown rice, barley, oats, rye, millet, sorghum or triticale etc) and look out for words such as whole, wholegrain, mixed grain, cracked, flaked or kibbled next to the name of the grain.
3. Add legumes such as baked beans, kidney beans, lima beans, soybeans, chickpeas, dried peas and lentils to soups, casseroles, salads and sauces.
4. Sprinkle chopped fresh or dried fruits, wheatgerm or seeds on breakfast cereal.
5. Try a handful of dried fruit and nuts as a snack or add some nuts to a stir-fry.
6. Instead of a milkshake, try a fruit smoothie made with a banana or other fresh fruit. You may also wish to add in rolled oats as an additional fibre boost.
7. Eat unpeeled fruits such as apples and pears, and vegetables like potatoes wherever possible as the skins are a valuable source of fibre.
8. Skip fruit juices as they contain virtually no fibre and go for a fresh piece of fruit instead.
9. Instead of sour cream or cream cheese-based dips, try a spicy bean dip or some hommus, which is made with chickpeas
10. Look on the nutrition panel of food products and choose those which provide at least 2 grams of dietary fibre per serve.
To read the full Sanitarium report, click here.