Digestive Health Immune Support Nutrition

Why is fibre good for you?

Did you know that fibre not only slows the absorption rate of sugar in the bloodstream but is also a source of food for the bacteria in your gut? When you include fibre in your diet, such as beans or whole grains, sugars from food consumed are absorbed slower, which keeps blood glucose levels from rising too fast.

What is fibre good for?

There is strong evidence that suggests eating plenty of fibre (commonly referred to as roughage) is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer.

Choosing foods with fibre also makes us feel fuller, while a diet rich in fibre can help digestion and prevent constipation.[1]

Is fibre good for more than just my digestion?

Dietary fibre is important for many areas of health, particularly keeping the digestive system working properly helping to prevent constipation. Some types of fibre bulk up stools, making them softer, moving waste more quickly through the digestive tract and easier to pass.

Another reason fibre is important is that it can help increase the good bacteria in our gut and a healthy balance of gut bacteria has been shown to be important for boosting immunity as well as better digestion and mood.

What is fermentable fibre and why is it so important? 

An estimated 100 trillion live bacteria reside in the human gut, mainly in the large intestine.

Because humans can’t digest fibre, it ends up reaching the large intestine mostly unchanged.  This is where fermentable fibre comes into play. These are fibres that the friendly gut bacteria are able to digest (ferment) and use as fuel.

This increases the number and balance of friendly gut bacteria, which also produce short-chain fatty acids with powerful health benefits.

The best whole-food sources of fermentable fibres are beans, lentils and chickpeas. A 1-cup serving often provides up to half of the recommended daily intake of fibre.[2]

How much fibre should I be getting every day?

In the UK most people do not eat enough fibre.  The recommended average intake for adults is 30g per day – yet, for women, the average intake is 17.2/day and 20.1g/day for men). [3]

To reach your recommended daily fibre intake, a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, grains (including bread and cereal) and pulses should be eaten every day with every meal.  If you are wanting to increase your fibre intake we propose you do it gradually and not all in one go as too much fibre too quickly can cause you to feel uncomfortable.

While you are increasing your fibre intake it would also be a good idea to increase the amount of water you are drinking and how often you are moving in the day which will all help the fibre to move along your digestive tract.  [4]

What are high fibre foods?

  • Wholegrain breakfast cereals, wholewheat pasta, wholegrain bread and oats, barley and rye
  • Fruit such as pears, melon, mango, blackberries, raspberries, kiwis, blueberries and oranges
  • Vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, kale, parsnips, sweet potato, leeks, cabbage and sweetcorn
  • Peas, beans, lentils and pulses
  • Unsalted pistachio’s, almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts
  • Chia, flax, poppy, sunflower and sesame seeds
  • Potatoes with skin on

Fibre supplements

Ideally, your daily fibre intake should come from food but if you are struggling to consume your daily allowance you can look to take a fibre supplement.


References

[1] https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/how-to-get-more-fibre-into-your-diet/

[2] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/different-types-of-fiber#section3

[3] https://www.nutrition.org.uk/nutritionscience/nutrients-food-and-ingredients/dietary-fibre.html

[4] https://www.ryvita.co.uk/living-well/increasing-your-fibre-what-to-expect