Do you give enough attention to your fibre intake?
Probably not. But we don’t blame you - dietary fibre is commonly overlooked in the news and social media, and doesn’t really get the attention it deserves. Food trends (and becoming Insta-famous) tend to favour the photographic, the sexy and the colourful over whole grains and fruit skins...
However, despite often missing the spotlight, fibre is incredibly important for the body, your digestive health and other essential processes. Incorporating high fibre foods into your daily diet is an awesome way to look after your body, feel better and manage your weight.
So - let's give fibre a second look and start treating your gut to a bit of TLC...
What’s Fibre Responsible For?
- Fibre is responsible for clearing waste and toxins out of the body. It is a form of carbohydrate that isn’t absorbed or digested, but instead is required to ‘push’, or move toxic waste along and out the other end. For this reason, it is also important for preventing or relieving constipation and haemorrhoids.
- Fibre is essential for encouraging a healthy digestive system, as it provides food for good gut bacteria. When you don’t eat enough fibre your metabolism can slow, and you may experience significantly bloating and discomfort.
- Foods that are high in fibre are important for regulating the absorption of food (glucose) in the body. This means fibre helps keep your blood sugar levels stable, eliminating sudden surges of energy and the energy slumps that follow.
- Eating a diet high in fibre can help prevent the development of irritable bowel syndrome and other digestion related conditions.
- Studies have shown that people who eat diets high in fibre have reduced risks of heart, infectious and respiratory diseases.
- High fibre foods are commonly high in other essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals - which means by opting for fibre rich foods you really get bang for your buck!
The Three Types Of Fibre
Not all fibre is the same! In fact, there are 3 types of fibre that you need to include in your diet in order to properly care for your body and digestive health.
- What it does: Insoluble fibre adds bulk into your system - in other words, it’s the ‘roughage’. This type of fibre doesn’t dissolve in water and creates solid mass to move out toxins and waste, and keep you regular.
- Where it’s found: Insoluble fibre is usually found in the tough matter of nuts, veggies, fruit and grains: particularly in the stalks, seeds and skins.
- What it does: Soft and sticky in consistency, soluble fibre absorbs water to form a gel-like matter that softens up the matter in your digestive tract so it moves along nice and smoothly. It is also responsible for populating or feeding good bacteria in your gut (therefore improving your body’s immunity and anti-inflammatory mechanisms) and regulating blood sugar, lowering cholesterol and preventing heart disease. Soluble fibre is also important for those concerned with weight loss and management, as it keeps you fuller for longer.
- Where it’s found: If you’re after some insoluble fibre munch on some oats, psyllium, or dried beans.
- What it does: Resistant starch is often grouped with Insoluble Fibre, however it does deserve its own mention! Responsible for the production of good bacteria in the large intestine, resistant starch provides gut bacteria with ‘food’ in the large bowel, and is broken down into fatty acids which promote and improve bowel health.
- Where it’s found: Potatoes, lentils, whole grains, bananas