While it may not be the most exciting topic on the planet, getting enough fibre on a daily basis is critical for a healthy body. You’ve probably heard about the health benefits of fibre, which range from keeping your bathroom visits regular and helping you feel satisfied after meals to keeping your blood sugar stable and cholesterol in check.
But fibre does more than just keep your digestive system running smoothly. Your Gut Deserves Better. It is essential for maintaining good gut health, which may have an impact on your overall health and well-being. So, why does our gut love fibre?
One of the most well-known and appreciated benefits of dietary fibre is the impact on gut motility and constipation prevention. Dietary fibre softens and increases the weight and size of your stool. A bulky stool is easier to pass, which reduces the likelihood of constipation. Fibre, which absorbs water and adds bulk to the stool, may help to solidify loose, watery stools.
In your digestive system, trillions of microorganisms — some good, some bad — live. Because healthy bacteria in your gut feed on fibre, the more fibre you consume, the more good ones you will have!
Your gut bacteria, in particular, prefer a type of plant fibre known as prebiotics. Prebiotics are naturally occurring carbohydrates that are not broken down by the digestive system. Instead, they pass through the digestive tract and into the large intestines, where they are fermented and consumed by beneficial bacteria.
Your digestive tract is more than just a mechanism for eliminating undigested food from your body. Consider it a checkpoint. The gut lining allows nutrients into the bloodstream while preventing “bad” bacteria and pathogens from entering.
The microorganisms in your gut help to keep the gastrointestinal lining intact, allowing it to function properly and keep you healthy. Fibre feeds your gut bacteria, which keeps them from eating your gut lining. In addition, fibre and gut bacteria stimulate mucus production, which aids in the strengthening of your gut’s protective barrier.
When you eat high-fibre foods, such as beans and whole grains, the sugar in those foods is absorbed more slowly, preventing your blood glucose levels from rising too quickly. This is beneficial because glucose spikes fall quickly, which can cause you to feel hungry soon after eating and lead to overeating.
Fibre causes your intestines to move more quickly. When you eat whole grains high in insoluble fibre, it moves more quickly through your intestines, which can help signal fullness.
Think of your gut microbiome as a collaborative orchestra. Your gut microbiome cannot be composed entirely of one type of bacteria, just as an orchestra cannot be composed entirely of violinists. A diverse group of people who all play different roles but work well together is required.
Diet is one of the most important factors influencing the composition of your gut microbiome, and fibre aids in the maintenance of a diverse community of microorganisms in your gut. Increasing your fibre intake can change the type of microorganisms in your gut in just a few weeks.
Forget about the latest juice cleanse crazes. Fibre naturally scrubs your GI tract and promotes toxin elimination. Soluble fibre absorbs potentially harmful compounds like excess oestrogen and unhealthy fats before they enter the body.
And because insoluble fibre helps things move faster, it reduces the amount of time chemicals like BPA, mercury, and pesticides stay in your system. The faster they pass through you, the less likely they are to cause you harm.
Some types of soluble fibre, known as prebiotics, have been shown to boost the bioavailability of minerals in foods, such as calcium.
The increased bioavailability may aid in the maintenance of bone density. Prebiotics are found in certain fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains and provide food for your advantageous gut bacteria.
Insoluble fibre protects against colon cancer while soluble fibre protects against cardiovascular disease. Insoluble fibre increases the bulk and speed with which food moves through the intestinal tract, reducing the time for harmful substances to accumulate.
Researchers believe that the lower cancer risk is due to fibre’s ability to move food more quickly through the digestive system, reducing cellular exposure to potential carcinogens while also removing waste more efficiently. Fibre’s health benefits are clearly visible in cultures where people consume a lot of high-fibre foods, and the incidence of colon cancer is significantly lower. One of the most effective dietary changes you can make to reduce your risk of colon cancer is to consume more insoluble fibre, such as that found in whole grains, particularly wheat bran.
The classification of dietary fibre is influenced by water solubility. There are two types of dietary fibre: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre is best found in fruits and vegetables. Cereals and whole-grain products, on the other hand, contain a lot of insoluble fibre. In contrast, most naturally available high-fibre foods contain varying amounts of both soluble and insoluble fibre.
Although most dietary fibre is fermented (via the action of the gut microbiota) within the gastrointestinal tract, fermentation of soluble fibre occurs more readily than that of insoluble cereal fibres.
Given that your gut loves dietary fibre, it is your responsibility to eat high-fibre food products on a daily basis. Look for plant-based foods such as:
As you can see, fibre is beneficial to your health. Dietary fibres come in a variety of forms and are derived from a variety of plant foods. It’s important not to focus too much on a specific fibre because of its particular proposed action, as each type provides some level of health benefit.
You will likely get the amount of fibre your body needs to run efficiently and lower your disease risk by eating a well-rounded, balanced diet that includes plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains.
Dietary fibre increases stool bulk and weight which increases colonic distention and promotes stool propulsion, decreasing colonic transit time. It helps regulate the body’s use of sugars, helping to keep hunger and blood sugar in check. It also appears to reduce the risk of developing various health conditions.