The facts about fibre and bowel cancer

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Fibre’s not just for your nan!

Bowel cancer is the second largest cause of cancer deaths in Australia. While no cancer is completely preventable, there are certain lifestyle decisions you can make that are believed to reduce the risk of developing bowel cancer.

The digestive tract refers to the organs which process nutrients from foods and removes the waste material out of the body (yes we are talking about poop). The small intestine is the main organ that absorbs the nutrients from broken down food. Then the colon (the first 1.8 metres of the large intestine) mainly absorbs water and the rectum (the last 15 cm of the large intestine) stores the waste material until it’s removed from the body. This is where fibre makes its appearance.

Dietary fibre is found in foods of plant origin – fruit, vegetables, cereals, dried peas, beans, lentils and nuts. It’s the part of the food that is indigestible, which means it remains relatively unchanged through our stomach and intestines. The main role of fibre is to keep the digestive system healthy and supports the digestive tract to perform the functions.

Fibre also contributes to stabilising glucose levels as it delays the absorption of sugars from the intestines. This assists prevent a rapid rise in blood insulin levels, which has been linked with diabetes.

You can lower your risk of bowel cancer by eating a healthy diet high in fibre like fruits, vegetables and whole grains! And these guys also contain vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants which also help in bowel cancer prevention. Also minimise your intake of unhealthy fats and processed foods.