Fibre is an essential nutrient that most people are not getting enough of each day. Fibre is one of the main reasons why whole plant foods are good for you. A low fibre intake can lead to constipation and other health related issues. Growing evidence shows that an adequate fibre intake may benefit your digestion and reduce your risk of chronic disease. Many of these benefits are mediated by your gut microbiota — the millions of bacteria that live in your digestive system. It is vital that there’s a balance between good bacteria, known as probiotics, and bad bacteria. These gut bacteria, also known as gut flora, are crucial for various aspects of your health, including good overall health and functioning of the body, a strong immune system, functioning of the brain, general wellbeing, and efficient metabolism to stimulate the burning of fat.
You can eat up to 5,000 calories a day and still feel hungry if you are not getting the specific nutrients and fibres that your body needs and craves for, in a way that it can digest and assimilate (absorb and integrate). As long as you are starving on a nutritional basis, your body is going to stay hungry in order to get those specific nutrients and fibre. High calorie and fatty foods trick you into thinking you are getting nourished, but your cells are staying hungry.
Did you know consuming foods high in fibre can help you lose weight by reducing your appetite and increasing the feeling of fullness, leading to a reduced calorie intake?
Fibre Feeds the “Good” Gut Bacteria
You may be wondering what this has to do with fibre. Just like any other organism, good bacteria need to eat in order to get the energy necessary for survival and functioning. The fibre feeds the “good” bacteria already living in your gut, so it is a prebiotic. Probiotics on the other hand are adding more good bacteria to the gut. Prebiotics would be the water, sun and gardening that allows the existing garden to grow and probiotics would be adding in new flowers and planting seeds in the garden. These both work together to create the right environment and keep the gut in balance.
When our bacteria are fed fibre, they produce something called short chain fatty acids (SCFA). SCFA are used to feed our colon cells. If there are extra SCFA left once the colon cells have been fed, it will then have a beneficial role throughout the rest of the body:
- lowering inflammation
- increasing insulin sensitivity
- healing “leaky gut”
- supporting healthy gene expression
- supporting liver function
- regulating energy
- supporting the gut-brain connection
The government guidelines suggest that adults consume a minimum of 30g of fibre daily, 90% of us are not meeting this requirement.
In addition to the above, fibre also helps bulk up your stool and helps clean things out. It helps reduce your appetite, keep you fuller for longer and support better cholesterol levels.
THINGS YOU CAN DO TO INCREASE FIBRE INTAKE.
- Eat or drink a diversity of plant-based foods daily. Plant foods include vegetables, fruits, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, teas, herbs, beans, legumes, whole grains, etc.
- Eat high fibre foods, also known as prebiotics. Our gut uses this fibre to nourish the good bacteria, allowing them to grow. Studies have shown that as we feed the good microbes, we also lower the pH of the gut and start to naturally crowd out problematic bacteria. We should be aiming for a minimum of 30 grams of fibre per day as adults, which is the government’s daily recommended amount. This is why you require both prebiotics and probiotics in your diet to support good health.
- SO PERF bars contain both prebiotics (to feed the good bacteria in the gut and allow them to grow) and probiotics (to add to the number of bacteria in the gut). The probiotics used in SO PERF are spore-based, which means that they plant seeds in the gut and allow new good bacteria to grow. The more bacteria we can feed the better we can support our gut and immune health.