The importance of fibre for gut health

Introduction to gut health

Your gut is essentially a pocket in the large intestine. Home to trillions of bacteria, it plays a key role in pretty everything that goes on in your body. From digestion, to brain health and heart health, it’s important to look after your gut and treat it well or else you may find yourself in a bit of a rut in other areas.

Not looking after your gut can lead to a multitude of issues, such as:

– Weight gain

– Acne

– Eczema

– Digestive issues such as IBS and IBD

– Poor immune system

There’s a whole bunch of things that you can do to improve your gut health, one of which being increasing your fibre intake.

What is fibre?

Fibre is found in plants, dietary fibre is the type of fibre that is edible. It is made form structures in plant cells that the human digestive system can’t completely break down.

The human body only produces a certain amount of enzymes with the role to transform food consumed int nutritive substances and unfortunately, fibre usually resists this.

There are two types of fibre: soluble and insoluble fibre.

What is soluble fibre?

This type of fibre dissolves in water and have been linked to the following health benefits:

– Helps to stabilise blood glucose levels. This is beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

– Helps to lower cholesterol levels. This can help to manage and prevent heart disease.

– Studies show that soluble fibre can help increase the feeling of fullness, delaying hunger and may help with encouraging weight loss. This means that soluble fibre can help with improving the BMI in those who are obese and overweight.

– Helps to improve the health of the gut microbiome. Soluble fibres travel through your digestive tract to the colon, where they meet your gut microbes. The fibres are considered to have the properties of probiotics as they are fermented by the good bacteria in the gut, producing essential short-chain fatty acids.

What is insoluble fibre?

This type of fibre is what is resistant to the human digestive enzymes. As they are resistant, they remain whole as they travel through the gastrointestinal tract which what may lead to constipation. Constipation is caused by the insoluble fibre that is not broken down. It irritates the lining of the gut which results in the release of mucus and water from the gut lining. The insoluble fibre then absorbs this water, increasing the size of the stool.

So, why is fibre important to gut health?

By introducing different types of dietary fibre into your diet, you’re encouraging diversity which will positively impact the growth of probiotic bacteria. With the growth of bacteria, such as lactic acid and bifidobacteria, this will help balance the pH in the gut preventing any inflammation, improving mood and help boost the immune system.

What foods do i need to be consuming?

To stimulate the growth of lactobacillus, try incorporating the following into your meals:

– Onions

– Garlic

– Jerusalem artichokes

– Legumes

– Wheat

– Rye

– Chicory

To stimulate the growth of bifidobacteria, try incorporating the following into your meals:

– Beetroot

– Oats

– Milk

– Maitake mushrooms

– Baker’s yeast

– Cooked starches

It is recommended that adults eat around 400g of fruit and vegetables per day, resulting in an intake of about 30g of fibre. However, it is estimated that in the UK adults are only consuming around 2/3 of their recommended fibre intake.

Other food sources to consider and their benefits

– Potatoes & rice. Reduce your hunger, encouraging healthy weight loss.

– Pulses, pasta and green bananas. Improves your blood sugar.

– Radishes, carrots, pears and tomatoes. Reduces inflammation and increases your immune function.

– Edible plants & cereal bran. Helps to improve your blood cholesterol.

– Mushrooms & whole grains. Increase your bowel movement.

As mentioned, fibre has properties similar to probiotics. To increase your general probiotic intake, take a daily dose of Willy’s apple cider vinegar to reap the benefits. You can either dilute our vinegars with water to drink, mix it in a smoothie or use it as a taste enhancer in your meals as an alternative to salt or take a daily shot of our pre-diluted Turmeric & Black Pepper with Honey ACV.

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