Fibre Facts: Why Your Body Needs More of This Nutritional Superstar
Fibre, which refers to the indigestible parts of plant foods that pass relatively unchanged through the digestive system, is an essential part of a healthy diet. This might not sound particularly exciting, but fibre has plenty of health benefits, and as well as being crucial for the normal functioning of our gut it plays an important role in protecting us against disease.
While it is best known for its’ role in keeping things moving, fibre plays a significant role for the immune system, increasing good bacteria in the gut and providing protection against inflammatory disorders and allergies. A high fibre diet has also been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer.
The problem is that in the UK, despite recommendations for an intake of 30g for men and 25g for women, as a nation, we are falling short at 18g on average.
Focus on fibre
Here’s why your body needs more of this nutritional superstar:
Promotes digestive health: Insoluble fibre adds bulk to the diet, encouraging healthy stools, preventing constipation, and promoting regular bowel movements which in turn help to prevent gastrointestinal disorders such as diverticulosis and haemorrhoids.
Enhances gut health: Certain types of fibre, known as prebiotics, serve as food for beneficial gut bacteria. These bacteria ferment the fibre, producing short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) that provide energy to the cells in the colon and promote a healthy gut environment, enhance nutrient absorption, and boost the immune system
Supports weight management: High-fibre foods are often less energy-dense (aka low in calories) and more filling, which can help control appetite and prevent overeating. They also tend to take longer to chew and digest, helping to keep us fuller for longer, help to balance our appetite, maintain a healthy weight or even aid with weight loss.
Manages blood sugar levels: Soluble fibre, found in oats, beans, and fruits, forms a gel-like substance in the gut and can help to slow the absorption of sugar, preventing rapid spikes in blood glucose and helping manage conditions like diabetes.
Lowers cholesterol levels: soluble fibre has been shown to reduce low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, often referred to as ‘bad’ cholesterol. By binding to cholesterol in the digestive tract, fibre helps prevent its absorption into the bloodstream.
Supports heart health: By lowering cholesterol levels and maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, fibre contributes to overall heart health. A diet high in fibre has been associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and hypertension.
Increasing your Fibre Intake
To reap the benefits of fibre, aim to consume a variety of fibre-rich foods every day, this includes both soluble and insoluble fibre. Choose from fruits such as apples and berries, vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts, whole grain products like wholemeal bread and brown rice, legumes – especially lentils and chickpeas, nuts, and seeds. When looking to increase your fibre intake, take it slow to avoid digestive discomfort or bloating and drink plenty of water throughout the day.
You might also like to try our Peach & Apricot flavoured Fibre water.
Lead Nutritionist & Communications - Get More Vits