You probably know that you need fibre in your diet but may not know about all the important roles it has in the body.
- we need fibre for good digestive system health
- for inner hygiene of the intestines
- for efficient bowel movements
- fibre binds to and eliminates excess cholesterol
- fibre binds to and eliminates excess hormones like oestrogen
Fibre is also a very important element in diabetes control diets because it helps to stabilise blood sugar levels. It does this by slowing the release of sugars from carbohydrate foods which allows for a steady release of energy and avoiding insulin surges.
Diets high in fibre decrease risk of colon cancer.
Where Does Fibre Come From?
Fibre is only found in PLANT foods. A diet that has lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, sprouted foods and legumes will automatically provide lots of fibre. A diet that is high in animal foods, refined or processed foods will contain very little fibre.
Types of Fibre
There are many types of fibre and they all have unique roles in the body. Additionally, they are categorised as soluble or insoluble.
- dissolves in water
- but resists digestion and absorption
- helps to stabilise blood sugar levels
- suppresses cholesterol manufacture in the liver
- increases absorption of minerals
- stimulates the immune system
- protects the colon
- absorbs water and softens stools
- helps make bowel movements regular
- stimulates friendly gut bacteria
- reduces risk of colon cancer
So as you can see from the above lists you need BOTH types. A diet high in plant foods will provide both types of fibre.
How Much Should I Be Getting?
Every person is different with different needs but a general guide is to aim for 35-40g of fibre per day. It is important to remember that fibre needs water so if you increase your fibre intake you must increase your water intake.
If your diet has been low in fibre and you decide to improve your intake, increase gradually, don’t do it all at once.
FIBRE + WATER = HAPPY BODY
Give Me Some Ideas
Not sure how to get the daily recommended intake – here are some suggestions with a rough guide to the amount of fibre they contain.