Fabulous Fibre

Fabulous Fibre

Fibre is fabulous, but only if you eat it!

It turns out that most New Zealanders don’t eat enough fibre.

So how much fibre should you be having, and where do you find it?

Fibre is fabulous

It turns out that most New Zealanders don’t eat enough fibre. The Ministry of Health recommends that adults should be eating 25 – 30g of dietary fibre per day, yet most adults are only eating 20g a day.

Fibre is the portion of vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts and seeds that is resistant to digestion and absorption in the stomach and small intestine. However, some can be digested and fermented by the bacteria in our large intestine.

Fibre is fabulous, but only if you eat it!

There are two types of dietary fibre – soluble and insoluble; with plant foods usually containing both in varying amounts.

soluble fibre

1. Soluble fibre – so called because it dissolves in water and forms a gel.

e.g. oats, legumes, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, potato, apples, citrus, pears, berries, almonds, chia, and onions.

The gel formed by soluble fibre binds fats and glucose, altering their absorption rate which is important for reducing cholesterol and aiding type-2 diabetes management. Another way it can reduce cholesterol is by binding and removing bile from the body. Bile is made from cholesterol, so when bile is excreted the body needs to use cholesterol from the blood to make more.

insoluble fibre

2. Insoluble fibre – does not dissolve in water.

e.g. wholemeal/grainy breads, wholegrain cereals, brown rice, legumes, corn, green beans, courgette, and celery.

Even though insoluble fibre it doesn’t dissolve in water, it does attract water so makes your stool softer and easier to pass. Along with this softening, the bulking that insoluble fibre provides, promotes good bowel health and regularity, reducing the risk of constipation.

Dietary fibre directly affects the way we absorb nutrients and chemicals from our food, as well as indirectly affecting our body through the chemical by-products of fermentation produced by our gut bacteria.

Some of the dietary fibre fermented by gut bacteria produces chemicals called short-chain fatty acids. These short-chain fatty acids have been shown to have a number of beneficial effects, such as:

  • Nourishing the cells that make up the large intestine lining, reducing irritation and inflammation;
  • Increasing the acidity of the colon which increases the absorption of minerals and protects the lining;
  • Stimulates immune cell production.

Because fibre either binds water or turns to gel, you need to ensure that you are drinking plenty of water to keep it all in balance. Especially as you increase your fibre intake to hit the daily target of 25 – 30g per day. Be sure to add in high fibre foods gradually because you may notice side effects, such as wind and bloating, as your digestive system and gut bacteria get used to all that fabulous fibre.

Not sure if you are eating enough fibre? book a FREE, no obligation chat to see if I can help you out. 💚