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Dietary fibre is the part of plant foods that the body cannot digest. Eating foods with fibre helps to keep the digestive tract healthy, stabilize blood sugar levels, and control cholesterol levels.

Fibre in the diet is classified as either soluble or insoluble.

  • Soluble fibre. As part of a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet, soluble fibre has been shown to help lower blood cholesterol. Foods high in soluble fibre include oat bran, oatmeal, dry beans and peas, rice bran, barley, citrus fruits, strawberries, and apple pulp (the solids left after making apple juice).
  • Insoluble fibre. Insoluble fibre does not lower blood cholesterol, but it is important in keeping the bowels healthy and preventing constipation and diverticular disease. Foods high in insoluble fibre include whole wheat breads, whole-grain cereals, and whole bran. Other examples are cabbage, beets, carrots, Brussels sprouts, turnips, cauliflower, and apple skin.

Bran is widely known as a good source of fibre. But many commercially made bran products, such as muffins and waffles, actually contain very little bran, and they are often high in saturated and total fat. Check the labels for the actual fibre content.