What is Fibre?
Fibre is an essential nutrient that plays a vital role in maintaining gut health and the gut microbiome. There are two main types of fibre: soluble and insoluble. Both types of fibre are important for maintaining a healthy gut, but they have different properties and provide different health benefits.
What is the difference between soluble and insoluble fibre?
Soluble fibre is a type of fibre that dissolves in water, forming a gel-like substance in the gut. Common food sources of soluble fibre include oats, barley, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts. Soluble fibre is beneficial for controlling blood sugar levels and cholesterol, as it slows down the absorption of glucose and binds to cholesterol in the gut, preventing it from being absorbed into the bloodstream.
Insoluble fibre, on the other hand, does not dissolve in water and passes through the gut unchanged. Common food sources of insoluble fibre include whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables with skins, and legumes. Insoluble fibre is beneficial for promoting regular bowel movements, as it adds bulk to the stool and helps to keep the digestive tract moving smoothly.
How much fibre should I be eating?
The recommended intake of fibre per day is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. However, most people do not consume enough fibre in their diet.
To increase your fibre intake, you can try incorporating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes into your diet. Some examples include:
- Adding a serving of berries to your morning cereal or yogurt
- Snacking on raw vegetables such as carrot sticks or bell pepper slices
- Incorporating more whole grains into your diet, such as quinoa or brown rice
- Eating a serving of legumes, such as lentils or chickpeas, a few times a week
- Adding a small serving of nuts, such as almonds or walnuts, to your daily diet
It’s also important to note that you should slowly increase your fibre intake gradually over time and drink plenty of water to prevent discomfort.
Why is fibre so important for our gut health and gut microbiome?
Our gut microbiome uses fibre as a fuel source, breaking it down into short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) through a process called fermentation. These SCFAs are then absorbed into the bloodstream and used as energy for the body. This process also helps to promote a healthy gut by feeding the beneficial bacteria in the gut, which in turn helps to maintain a balance of good and bad bacteria in the gut microbiome. The presence of these beneficial bacteria in the gut is also associated with many health benefits such as lower inflammation, improved gut barrier function, and even positive effects on mental health
Are there other health benefits from fibre?
Incorporating both soluble and insoluble fibre in your diet is important for maintaining a healthy gut. Soluble fibre can help to control blood sugar levels and cholesterol, while insoluble fibre promotes regular bowel movements. Eating a variety of high-fibre foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes, can help to ensure that you are getting enough of both types of fibre in your diet.
In conclusion, fibre is an essential nutrient that plays a vital role in maintaining gut health and the gut microbiome. Soluble and insoluble fibre have different properties and provide different health benefits. The recommended intake of fibre per day is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men. Eating a variety of high-fibre foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and legumes, can help to ensure that you are getting enough of both types of fibre in your diet. Incorporating more fibre into your diet can help to improve your overall health and well-being.
If you require any further assistance with your gut health or nutrition requirements, please book an appointment with one of our naturopaths today.