The Gut-Loving Power of Fibre

gut health Sep 21, 2023

Our digestive system isn't merely a functional part of our body – it's a finely-tuned ecosystem teeming with a myriad of processes that determine our overall wellbeing. At the heart of this ecosystem is a term we're all familiar with: fibre.

For many, the word “fibre” conjures up images of bran muffins or perhaps those cereal adverts promoting a smoother digestive journey. But what is fibre really, and why is it the unsung hero of gut health?

Human Microbiome: A Grand Perspective

It's truly staggering when we consider the sheer complexity and magnitude of our own bodies. Out of the over 100 trillion cells that constitute us, a significant portion aren't even human! In fact, human cells make up only about 43% of our body's total cell count. The rest? They're part of our microbiome, a vast community of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microorganisms. This means we're less of a singular entity and more of a walking, talking ecosystem, playing host to countless different species. The gut biome, in particular, is instrumental in this symbiotic relationship, influencing everything from our digestion to our mood.

Understanding the Fibre Spectrum

Firstly, fibre isn't a one-size-fits-all nutrient. It has several types:

  • Soluble Fibre: Found in foods like oats and apples, it dissolves in water to form a gut-friendly gel.
  • Insoluble Fibre: Present in whole grains and veggies, it doesn't dissolve but instead adds the necessary bulk to our digestive process.
  • Resistant Starch: This intriguing component evades digestion in the small intestine, opting instead to ferment in the large intestine. Look for it in foods like green bananas and cooked, then cooled, potatoes.
  • Prebiotic Fibre: It acts as sustenance for our beneficial gut bacteria, abundant in garlic, onions, and asparagus.

Why Your Gut Thanks You for Fibre

  1. Stay Regular: Insoluble fibre aids in ensuring a smoother journey through our digestive system.
  2. Boost Colon Health: High-fibre diets serve as a protective measure against various colon-related ailments.
  3. Fuel Beneficial Bacteria: Fibres, especially prebiotics and resistant starch, undergo fermentation by gut bacteria, producing compounds beneficial for us.
  4. Manage Weight More Efficiently: High-fibre foods satiate us quicker, aiding in weight management.
  5. Stabilise Blood Sugar: The presence of soluble fibre ensures more stable blood sugar levels.
  6. Keep Cholesterol in Check: Certain soluble fibres, particularly those in oats, assist in reducing cholesterol levels.

Incorporating Fibre into Your Diet

It's not just about recognising the benefits of fibre; it's about weaving these gems into your daily diet. Think legumes, whole grains, green veggies, and a vibrant array of fruits. Sprinkle some seeds on your salad or munch on nuts for a snack.

For those newer to the fibre game, a piece of advice: ease into it. Gradually increase your intake, ensuring you're drinking plenty of water alongside, to avoid any digestive discomfort.

Join Me on a Gut Health Odyssey

If this realm fascinates you as much as it does me and you're keen to delve deeper, I've got just the opportunity for you. I'll be hosting a Gut Health workshop on the 14th of January. It would be splendid if you could join us. All the details are available here.

Till then, let's champion our gut health and bask in the manifold benefits fibre offers.

Chris Downham

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