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Bran is made up of fibrous husks that cover grain seeds. But contrary to common thought, it's not a 'roughage food' and not irritating to the bowels. For example - wheat bran contains 2.5 per cent cellulose (the indigestible part), which compares favourably to apples (3.6 per cent) and grapes (7 per cent).

Bran is a recommended part of our diet because of the ability of its fibre to absorb water and give bulk to the faeces. It expands in the colon, stimulating bowel movement and elimination.

It has LDL ('bad' cholesterol) lowering properties - especially oat bran, which was also found to reduce the need for insulin by 25-50 per cent in adult-onset diabetes.

High intakes of bran can, however, result in mineral deficiency, particularly that of calcium -so a multi-mineral supplement should be taken. See 'Alternative Medicine'; 'LDL'

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