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Hello [name], 

Spring is in the air in Sydney – finally! This issue we tell you why you should fall in love with kale, how to avoid wasting fresh herbs and the benefits you can expect from eating a high fibre diet.  We also have a fabulous Quick N’ Healthy Family Meals cookshop coming up, which you won’t want to miss!

Why You Should Boost Fibre in Your Diet 

You’ve probably heard that it’s important – but what exactly can you expect by eating more fibre-rich foods?  

If you want to have good digestive health and regularity, getting plenty of dietary fibre is essential.  Adequate fibre is beneficial for intestinal disorders such as hiatus hernia, diverticular disease, haemorrhoids and the prevention of colon cancer.  The most immediate and noticeable effects however, relate to sluggish bowels, where fibre is the most effective treatment for all forms of constipation due to its ability to "bulk up" and get things moving!

But fibre is more than just adding extra bran on your cereal.  Research shows that several types of fibres exist, and naturally fibre-rich plant foods also supply many phytonutrients, so the effects are far reaching.  A high fibre diet based on whole or minimally refined plant foods – say, soy and linseed bread, lentil and vege soup and fresh corn on the cob - can protect you against a number of chronic diseases including heart disease, certain cancers and even diabetes.

Foods full of fibre can also greatly assist with weight control.  They keep you feeling fuller for longer and many provide fewer calories.  Try eating a can of baked beans and see for yourself how full you will feel!

Where is Fibre Found?  

Fibre is only found in plant foods. There is no fibre in meat or dairy products.  Fibre-rich foods include fruits (unpeeled where possible), vegetables, wholegrains and their products, legumes, nuts and seeds.   

There are three main types of fibre, all with varying properties and functions essential to a healthy diet.  It is important to try and obtain a mix of the different fibres across meals to reap maximum health benefits.

  1. Soluble Fibre - Helps to lower high blood cholesterol, slows the rate of digestion to help you feel fuller for longer and regulates blood sugar levels. Found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, oats, rice, barley and psyllium husks.
  2. Insoluble Fibre - Helps to keep you ‘regular’ by adding bulk and speeding up the transit rate through the bowel.  This is very important for preventing constipation and lowering your risk of bowel cancer. Found in the skins of fruits and vegetables, wholegrain and wholemeal breads, cereals, wholemeal pasta, brown rice, nuts and seeds.
  3. Resistant Starch - While not strictly fibre, this type of starch passes through to the large bowel undigested and acts like a type of fibre.  It can provide important protection from bowel diseases. Found in firm bananas, lentils, polenta, cooked and cooled rice and potato as well as grains and seeds.

How Much do You Need? 

How much fibre should you get each day?  If you want to optimise your diet to reduce the risk of chronic disease, the Australian government says women should get 28 g fibre and men, 38 g daily.  However, some people who live on highly refined, fast food diets can have fibre intakes as low as 10 g per day – paving their way for future illness!  

Societies with the lowest occurrence of colon cancer and heart disease have been shown to eat at least 40–50 g of fibre daily, which is actually easy to do given their intake of primarily unrefined plant foods, such as beans and meelimeal (or polenta) which are a traditional meal in rural Africa.  But it takes some meal planning and deliberate high fibre choices to get to this level if you live in a western country where much of the food is bought in packages, and there is an emphasis on animal based food choices, so the diet tends to be low in fibre.  This is where your dietitian and our cookshops can help, to introduce you to an exciting new world of ‘whole foods’ and easy recipes you can enjoy with the whole family.

Check out the table below to see how the grams of fibre can add up during the day so you can make every mouthful count.

Fibre Star Performers


Fibre (grams) per serve

Kidney beans, canned (1 cup)


Wholemeal pasta, 1 cup cooked


Prunes, 100 g dried


Lentils, 1 cup boiled


2 Weet-bix Hi-Bran


Chia seeds, 1 TBSP


Apple, 1 large


Quinoa, 1 cup cooked


Dried apricots, 10 halves


Ground linseeds, 1 TBSP


Pear, 1 medium


Burgen Soy-Lin bread, 2 slices


Banana, 1 medium


Pumpkin seeds, 2 ½ TBSP


Kiwi, 1 medium


Nuts, 20-30 nuts


Brown rice, 1 cup cooked


Fresh passionfruit, pulp


2 fresh dates


10 Top Tips for Everyday High Fibre Eating

  1. Eat breakfast daily. The right food choices at breakfast can supply you with a third of your daily fibre needs!
  2. Choose a very high fibre breakfast cereal – look for at least 6 g dietary fibre per serving e.g. porridge (made with rolled oats or barley), Weet-Bix Hi Bran, Protein 1st, Guardian and Goodness Superfoods Digestive or Protein 1st.
  3. Sprinkle your cereal with ground linseeds, chia seeds/chia bran or LSA mix (linseeds, sunflower seeds and almonds), prunes, dates or a few teaspoons of psyllium husks to give a little fibre boost at breakfast.
  4. Choose high fibre breads such as soy & linseed, oatbran & honey, pumpernickel, wholegrain, rye sourdough or wholemeal sourdough. Brands such as Burgen, Helga’s and Molenberg seem to contain more wholegrains.
  5. Aim for 2 serves of fresh fruit each day. One serve equals 1 medium piece of fruit (e.g. apple), 2 small fruits (e.g. kiwis), 1 cup berries or 1 cup diced fruits.  Remember to also eat the skin, where possible.
  6. Include 5 serves of vegetables or salad throughout the day.  One serve of vegetables equals 1 cup loosely packed salad vegetables or half a cup cooked vegetables.
  7. Include legumes 2-3 times per week.  Legumes are loaded with fibre, and low in saturated fat and GI, making them a great ingredient for weight loss.
  8. Use brown rice, wholemeal pasta or cooked barley to replace white rice and ordinary pasta.  As a guide, one serve equals 1 cooked cup. Also, learn to use other wholegrains such as buckwheat, millet, bulgur wheat, red rice and quinoa for variety.
  9. Choose high fibre snacks if you experience hunger between main meals.  Include fresh fruit, dried fruit, raw nuts, crisp vegetables with hommus, popcorn, high fibre crackers (e.g. Ryvita or Vita-Weats) or make your own delicious low fat fruit smoothie including some psyllium husks.
  10. Use spreads with fibre such as hommus, avocado and nut butters in place of margarine and butter.

Increasing Fibre on a Gluten Free Diet 

Many people on gluten-free diets struggle to get enough dietary fibre, as the grains that are removed from the diet i.e. wheat, rye, barley and oats are traditionally common sources of fibre.  What’s more, many gluten-free commercial products lack fibre due to their use of refined ingredients.  If health considerations require you to give up gluten, make sure you compensate for the lost fibre by including gluten free sources of fibre such as legumes, nuts and vegetables, as well as certain gluten free grains.  For more information speak to your friendly dietitian who can assist you to increase your fibre intake from non-gluten sources.

Fibre Needs Fluid to Work

Finally, as fibre absorbs water many times its own weight and expands to keep you full, it is important to consume between 6-8 glasses of water throughout the day to ensure your fibre can work effectively.  

If you suddenly switch from a low fibre intake to a high fibre diet, you may experience some discomfort e.g. flatulence.  So it’s important you give your digestive system (and healthy bacteria that live there) a chance to get accustomed.  We suggest gradually introducing more whole plant foods at meals and snacks until your body has adjusted.  Physical activity is also very important for optimal bowel function so aim for some movement each day.

Health Quote

“The road to health is paved with good intestines!” - Sherry A. Rogers

What’s Cooking in October – Quick N’ Healthy Family Meals

Looking for some yummy inspiration to feed your family healthy meals that won’t require hours slaving over a hot stove?  Would you like to use more legumes and operate a pressure cooker but have no idea where to start? 

Learn about kitchen shortcuts and key ingredients to boost your wellness and shape up for summer. 

Ideal if you are not a MasterChef.

Perfect if you are a time-poor home cook and trying to lose weight or better manage a medical condition.

Join us on Tuesday, 9th October 2012, from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. 

Enjoy 4-course tasting plates, take home recipes and nutrition handouts.

Find out more about our cookshops

Call now on (02) 9899 5208 to reserve your seat.  Get in early as our cookshops book out in advance!

What’s Fresh – Kale

Did you know that kale is a form of cabbage?  Enjoyed for centuries, this old world vegetable has recently gained attention due to its high phytonutrient profile and likely anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and cholesterol lowering benefits.  

The main varieties of kale available include curly kale, ornamental kale and dinosaur kale, all of which differ in taste, texture, and appearance.  Although kale can be found in markets throughout the year, it is more widely available and at its peak, with a sweeter taste, from the middle of winter through to the beginning of spring.

Kale provides an excellent source of vitamins A, K and C and is a very good source of many B-group vitamins, calcium, fibre and minerals.  As with most green vegetables, kale is also rich in iron and folate and very low in calories.  This means it provides a high nutritional value for fewer calories than almost any other food.

Kale is best prepared by steaming, microwaving, or stir frying and freezes well, resulting in a sweeter taste upon thawing.  Tender kale greens can provide an intense addition to salads, be mixed into stir-fries or added to soups.  Simply chop into one inch ribbons.

When shopping, look for kale with firm, deeply coloured leaves and moist stems.  Choose kale with smaller-sized leaves, as these are more tender and produce a milder flavour than kale with larger leaves.

To store, place kale in a plastic bag in the refrigerator where it will keep for 5 days.  Interestingly, the longer the kale is stored the more bitter its flavour becomes.

3 ways with Kale:

  1. Add some fresh kale strips to your favourite stir-fry or salad for a hit of flavour.
  2. Use kale as the basis to create a green smoothie.
  3. Brush kale leaves with extra virgin olive oil and bake your own yummy healthy kale chips!

Want other healthy recipe ideas?

Food InFocus with Sue Radd – Hidden Perils of Salt

If you think you don’t eat much salt because you don’t use it in cooking or add it at the table, think again.  Research tells us that 75 percent of the typical salt intake in the Australian diet comes hidden in everyday, staple foods that you buy from the supermarket.  Watch this TV segment with Sue Radd to learn how cutting down on hidden salt can help you with more than 20 medical conditions! 

Product Review – Gluten-free, Grain-free Bread Mix

Can’t tolerate gluten or, indeed, any grains?  You could try baking your own fresh bread using a newly released gluten free, grain free and yeast free bread mix available via mail order from the Gluten Free Grain Free Co.

The mix was developed by Tania Hubbard after she found herself needing to go gluten and grain free with little on offer that would resemble bread.

Not everyone needs to go grain free as well as gluten free, but this mix is suitable for people with Coeliac Disease or IBS and provides another option.  It is super quick and easy to make – we can testify, we tried it - requiring no kneading or bread machine.  The bread has a slightly cakey texture and noticeable egg taste and is speckled with chia seeds for an extra fibre boost.  Not quite like your usual loaf (it hasn’t got the gluten) but useful and tasty all the same if you need to follow a highly restrictive diet and are missing bread.  Happy baking!

Kitchen Tip – What to Do with Leftover Herbs

Ever been stuck with half a bunch of coriander or dill because the recipe called for less than you purchased?  You then stored it in the bottom of the fridge and forgot about it until one day…you cleaned out the fridge and there it was…some limp, black matter.  Ooops! 

Apart from being wasteful, such little bits and pieces can be a drain on your back pocket.  With herbs ranging in cost from $0.99 to $3.00 - and let’s face it, you often need several varieties - there are smarter ways to deal with leftovers, so that you can use them when needed.

Enter your freezer.  Did you know you can wash and spin dry herbs (use a salad spinner), then finely chop and store in a glass jar or freezer bag in the freezer for later use?  Consider parsley, chives, basil, mint, tarragon to name a few.  Such herbs are perfect for making soups, stews and curries.  After all, in cooked dishes, the herbs end up being heated through so it doesn’t really matter that they are limp when removed from the freezer.

Intentionally buying extra bunches of fresh herbs when in season and preparing them this way in advance, can also save you time when cooking.  If you use a food processor, to chop herbs in bulk, the job is even quicker.  For example, when we cook Persian herb stew with black-eyed beans – which requires 6 bunches of parsley, dill and coriander in total! – we buy in bulk, chop with a Magimix and freeze any leftovers for later use.

It’s true some herbs may freeze better than others, but most work, including mixes.  Just be sure to use them up within a few months for best flavour.  You can also buy frozen herbs at your supermarket.

Tell Your Friends! 

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Published by the Nutrition & Wellbeing Clinic, Copyright 2012.

Suite 10, 80 Cecil Avenue, Castle Hill NSW 2154 Ph: +61 2 9899 5208 Fx: +61 2 9899 2848 www.sueradd.com

We are a boutique Dietitians clinic in Sydney, Australia, offering one-on-one consultations, culinary medicine cooking workshops, motivational health seminars and nutrition advisory services to businesses in the local and global area.

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