Fibre is an essential nutrient that most children (and parents) are not getting enough of each day. Fibre is one of the main reasons why whole plant foods are good for them. Growing evidence shows that an adequate fibre intake may benefit their digestion. Many of these benefits are mediated by their gut microbiota — the millions of bacteria that live in your digestive system, which is 10 times the number of cells in our entire body. 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 our health, including good overall health and functioning of the body, a strong immune system, functioning of the brain and general wellbeing.
Why is fibre important?
When paired with good hydration, fibre plays an important role in keeping children’s bowels regular. A low fibre intake can lead to constipation and other health related issues. Fibre-rich foods are usually good sources of nutrients and vitamins as well. All of these factors together prevent constipation so that you don’t find yourself up with the toddler in the middle of the night while they’re having stomach pains and can’t poop.
Fibre Feeds the “Good” Gut Bacteria
Feeding your children a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, herbs, beans and legumes ensures that their developing microbiome has lots of nourishment. That is because these foods feed the microbes and allow them to grow. It is important to try and feed them a diverse range of plant foods as different foods will feed different species of bacteria in the gut. The better the diversity of foods, the more diverse the bacteria and the better they can support their health – sneaking different foods onto their plate is a great way to do this!
Fibre is also important for feeding our microbes with what’s known as prebiotics. Feed your children foods that are high in fibre – we should be aiming for a minimum of 15 grams of fibre per day, which is the government’s daily recommended amount. Our gut uses this fibre to feed the good bacteria, allowing them to grow. Studies have shown that as we feed the good microbes, we also lower the pH level of the gut and start to naturally crowd out problematic bacteria.
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, they 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
SO PERF cold pressed bars for kids are loaded with fibre which feeds our microbes, and these are known as prebiotics. Prebiotics are important because they feed the good bacteria that are already in your gut and allow them to grow and flourish. The more bacteria we can feed the better we can support our gut and immune health. When there are good levels of the good bacteria, it makes it harder for the problematic bacteria to take hold. The government recommends the kids have 15 grams of fibre daily to support their gut health. Most children are not meeting this requirement. Each SO PERF bar provides approximately 5-7g of fibre helping our children to get more and reach this goal.