Is this the secret to long-term health?

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Ooh, what could it be?

Exercise? Healthy diet? Keeping well hydrated? Good quality sleep? Minimal stress? Connection with others? A fulfilling career? Yes, I say, to all of these.

BUT…there’s one thing that most of us don’t do enough of that could be seriously impacting our health outcomes.

For example – increasing our risk of:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes Type 2
  • Constipation
  • Obesity
  • Colon cancer

In fact it’s estimated that the average Aussie only eats between 10-20gms of this a day. The current wisdom is that we should be aiming for upwards of 35gms per day. Seems we are falling woefully short. Compare this with the Hadza tribe in Africa who get between 100-300gms per day!

Have you guessed what it is yet?

It’s…drum roll please… FIBRE (or roughage as my Nanna called it).

Fibre explained:

There are two types of dietary fibre, soluble and insoluble.

Soluble – think of it like a flush

  • Makes contents of the gut softer and easier to deal with.
  • Dissolves in water. It will go gel like when water is added.
  • Helps us to feel fuller and eat less.
  • Slows digestion so that nutrients can be absorbed more evenly and slowly.
  • Cleans the digestive tract.
  • Kills off bad bacteria.
  • Lowers cholesterol.
  • Reduces IBS (irritable bowel) symptoms.
  • Controls blood sugars.

Insoluble – think of it like a brush or scrub.

  • Stimulates movement through the digestive system – can cause tummy aches (or windy harbours…).
  • Doesn’t dissolve in water.
  • Known as the ‘roughage’ Nanna talked about.
  • Helps bowel regularity (aka laying a cable of Telstra!).

Some good sources of fibre include:

Food Serving size Soluble Fibre (gms)
Passion fruit ½ cup (125mL) 6.5
Black beans, cooked ¾ cup (175mL) 5.4
Lima beans, cooked ¾ cup (175mL) 5.3
Navy beans, cooked ¾ cup (175mL) 3.3
Pinto beans, cooked ¾ cup (175mL) 3.2
Kidney beans, cooked ¾ cup (175mL) 2.6 to 3.0
Tofu, cooked 150gms 2.8
Bran with psyllium 1/3 cup (75mL) 2.7
Beans, canned ¾ cup (175mL) 2.6


Studies show that people who eat more fibre tend to be leaner and are less likely to gain weight over time.

Challenge! Write down everything you eat this week and see if you can work out how much fibre you get on a daily basis.

If you want to stay young and lean and gorgeous, eat more roughage!