Updated: Feb 25
We all know that fibre is important, but many people are still deficient. In this article, I will cover, what is dietary fibre, why is it so important for you and what are the best sources for it.
What is fibre?
It's a carbohydrate that we as humans can't digest as we lack the enzymes to break it down within the body. This is the reason, why it fills you up and also helps to control your hunger.
There are various types of fibre to consume. Since I am advocating to try and stay away from gluten to reduce the inflammation levels in your body, I would not recommend to consume wheat bran and oat bran (last one mainly because it can be contaminated with wheat gluten in processing). Wheat bran can be very harsh for the colon for some people.
On a high level fibre comes in two different forms: soluble and insoluble fibre. Soluble fibre forms a gel when mixed with liquid, insoluble fibre passes through our intestines almost intact.
Best fibres to consume
Different fibres work different for different people. If you are someone who has not put focus on this area before, you might want to test out different fibres to find out which works the best for you. For some people fibres can cause constipation- it's important to choose then more gentle fibres. Also, it's important to start slowly adding more fibre to your diet, if you have not been very good at consuming it in the past, as you want to avoid excessive gas and bloating. Pectin fibres from fruit, chia seeds, flax seeds are good options as they are easier on your body. On top of consuming fibre, it's necessary to note that you also need to consume adequate amount of water on a daily basis to stay hydrated and have the fibre working better for you.
These foods include both soluble and insoluble fibre or just soluble fibre:
These foods include only the insoluble fibre:
Why is fibre important for you?
Fibre is important for detoxification, because it binds to the bile acids that carry toxins out of your body and help to eliminate via the stool. If you are not getting enough fibre from your food, it can lead to mild constipation and also toxins reabsorption in the body.
It's important to consume both soluble and insoluble fibres as soluble fibre prolongs stomach emptying time for sugar to be released and absorbed slowly. Soluble fibre also lowers total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and promotes friendly cut bacteria. Therefore it's great for heart health. Insoluble fibre helps with regular bowel movement, moves toxic waste through colon quicker and balances the acidity (pH) level in your colon.
Fibre is great for weight loss as well as women who eat a high-fibre diet may be at a lower risk for developing ovarian cancer.
It's recommended that we consume 25-35 grams of fibre a day for good health, however if you are someone who has been diagnosed with a bowel disease like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), then it's best to talk to your health care provider to learn about the safe amount for you.
Fibre is food for your gut microbiota- if you starve them from fibre, they start to eat away the mucus lining in your gut. If your daily diet is high in fibre from vegetables, fruits, seeds, legumes, you are feeding your gut with prebiotics and probiotics and therefore help to keep your microbiome balanced.
Fibre is an important nutrient to consume on a daily basis to help move food through your intestines, to improve digestive health and protect against diseases.