The study found that fibre binds up to 80 per cent of cancer-inhibiting antioxidant polyphenols in fruit and vegetables, thereby protecting the antioxidants from early digestion in the stomach and small intestine.
Dr Anneline Padayachee who undertook the study through the University of Queensland (UQ) and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation CSIRO, found that fibre acts as a trafficker, safely transporting antioxidant nutrients to the colon where they can provide protection against cancers.
"Cells in fruits and vegetables are opened allowing nutrients to be released when they are juiced, pureed or chewed," Padayachee said.
"In an unexpected twist, I found that after being released from the cell 80 per cent of available antioxidant polyphenols bind to plant fibre with minimal release during the stomach and small intestinal phases of digestion.
"Fibre is able to safely and effectively transport polyphenols to the colon where these compounds may have a protective effect on colon health as they are released during plant fibre fermentation by gut bacteria," she said in a statement.
This finding also has implications for fresh juice lovers who throw out antioxidants along with the fibre-rich pulp they discard.
"In juicing, the fibrous pulp is usually discarded, which means you miss out on the health benefits of these antioxidants as well as the fibre," Padayachee said.
"As long as you consume everything