It’s no secret that fibre is an important part of a healthy diet and is one of the key nutrients to overall health and wellness.
Fibre's beneficial to the gut microbiome, helping to promote bowel regularity and the growth of good bacteria in the gut. It can help to maintain a healthy weight, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels and can even be protective against some cancers!
Fibre comes in two forms, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fibre dissolves in water and forms a gel-like substance, while insoluble fibre does not. Both types are incredibly good for the body and have numerous health benefits, so let's take a closer look!
Fibre is the secret to better gut health
Firstly, why is gut health important? Well, the gut microbiome is responsible for maintaining much of our overall health. It helps us to digest food, absorb nutrients, and even fight off disease. Adding fibre to your diet is one of the easiest ways to improve your gut health. Fibre acts as a fuel source for the good bacteria in the gut, promoting their growth and abundance and keeping the digestive system happy. Fibre is also responsible for helping keep you regular and removing toxins from the body. It works by adding bulk to the stool and absorbing unwanted pathogens, toxins and other nasties, which our bodies can then eliminate by going no.2.
Fibre can help to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels
Which is super important for heart health. A recent study from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) found that people who ate the most amount of fibre had lower levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol and triglycerides, as well as higher levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol than those who ate the least. Eating soluble fibre helps to lower cholesterol and triglycerides by decreasing and slowing down the absorption of fats and sugars and sugars into the bloodstream when we eat. Additionally, fibre has the ability to bind to cholesterol in the intestine and remove it from the body, ensuring plaque in our arteries stays at bay.
Fibre can help to maintain a healthy weight
By helping to keep you full after eating! When we eat fibre with a meal, it slows down the transit time, aka the time it takes for our food to be digested and absorbed, and therefore can help us feel fuller for longer, and eat less overall. Additionally, pairing fibre with a carbohydrate-rich meal can help to reduce the blood sugar spike, meaning you won’t feel that crash about 2h after eating and be starving all over again.
Fibre can protect against some cancers.
Eating a high-fibre diet has been shown to have protective effects against colon, breast, ovarian, endometrial, and gastrointestinal cancers. As mentioned earlier, fibre has the ability to bind to toxins, pathogens, and carcinogenic cells and remove them from the body. Fibre also boosts the number of good bacteria in your gut which produce a substance called short chain fatty acids (SCFA’s). These SCFA’s are very powerful anti-inflammatories, which work to protect the body and reduce the ability of cells to become cancerous.
So how much fibre do we need?
Did you know that only 1 in 5 Australians consume enough fibre per day? According to the Australian Dietary Guidelines, women should aim to consume at least 25 grams/day, and men should consume at least 30 grams. This means that most of us could benefit from eating more fibre-rich foods. So what are some good sources?
Fruits and vegetables are a great place to start, especially ones with edible skins or seeds, think apples, pears, berries, and artichokes.
Whole grains such as oats, brown rice, and barley and quinoa.
Legumes such as beans, lentils, and peas are also excellent sources.
And lastly, be sure to include a variety of high-fibre foods in your diet to get the most benefit for your health!