Fibre is one of the jewels in the nutritional crown.
Along with good fats and proteins, fibre is one of the cornerstones of good health but it’s common for people to think fibre’s chief value is regularity of bowel movements.
It does much more than that with the benefits of fibre being much more far-reaching than regularity. Unfortunately though, most people don’t even consume half of the required 25g a day.
Here are some of its main impacts:
- If you have a low fibre diet, you also have a poor gut microbiome. It feeds on fibre, needing a good supply to thrive and be healthy enough to fight the bad bugs in our gut.
- If we eat plenty of fibre, we’re likely to eat less food overall because we’ll quickly feel satiated. It fills us up and that’s always welcome. If you’re frequently hungry, it’s a sure sign there’s not enough fibre in your diet.
- It helps to lower the LDL cholesterol levels. That’s the `bad’ cholesterol which can lead to a build up of plaque in the arteries.
- It has an enormous impact on your metabolic health. Diversity of plant food and unprocessed food is key. When food is processed, the first thing that’s wiped out is the fibre.
- It can help your body to excrete a lot of toxic substances. It’s like a broom that sweeps out your intestinal tract and if you don’t have enough, it will cause inflammation and diseases.
There is soluble and insoluble fibre, and both are crucial to the nutritional matrix. They both play a very important role.
Soluble fibre forms a type of gel and is inside fruit and vegetables whereas insoluble fibre is on the outside, meaning the skin. It can’t be broken down as easily, so it travels to the gut where it ferments. So, unpeeled fruit and vegetables provide a vast array of fibre.
Soluble fibre provides the biggest boost to your good cholesterol whereas insoluble fibre provides the biggest influx of goodies to the microbiome.
But of course, neither form will be helpful without enough water. Bulk needs fluid to get moving and it’s also best to work gradually towards increasing the fibre intake. If you’re used to eating cooked vegetables, don’t suddenly switch to raw foods. Introduce them slowly and carefully but once you boost your fibre levels, you’ll never turn back. It helps our entire system to function at its peak.