Fibre for Gut Health: how much does your body need
Written By Go Vita
DID YOU KNOW THAT 70 PERCENT OF AUSTRALIANS FALL SHORT OF MEETING THEIR FIBRE NEEDS? LEARN HOW TO ENSURE YOU’RE NOT ONE OF THEM.
he more we learn about the gut microbiome, the more we realise how much more there is to learn. The gut microbiome is made up of trillions of bacteria, microorganisms and their genetic material, which all live – and hopefully thrive – in your intestines. Nor is the gut microbiome solely concerned with gut health and digestion: it is vitally linked to immune, nervous, metabolic and cardiovascular health and specifically impacts weight, brain function and mood and the likelihood of developing diabetes, autoimmune disorders and several cancers. Put simply – good health starts in your gut.
Each person’s gut microbiome is more individual than their fingerprints, and there is no single gold standard classification of what is healthy or unhealthy. However, science has identified the following factors as being important to a healthy gut:
it contains an abundance of diverse types of bacteria;
it is effective in digesting food and absorbing nutrients;
it operates with ease – there is minimal bloating, wind or pain and bowel movements are comfortable;
there is no disease or damage; and
it is resilient, quickly returning to normal after an ‘assault’, such as a course of antibiotics or a larger amount of alcohol than normal.
Fibre is essential for a healthy gut microbiome. Fibre is the part of food that the body cannot break down; instead, it passes through the gastrointestinal tract intact and is finally broken down by the beneficial bacteria in the intestines. When these ‘good’ bacteria are being well fed with the fibre they love, they will produce beneficial byproducts, such as short-chain fatty acids, which produce a healthy layer of mucus that protects the delicate epithelial cells of the gut lining and plays a role in reducing the risk of bowel cancer. Other important benefits of fibre include: satiety – it keeps you feeling fuller for longer; stabilising blood sugar by slowing digestion; helping to regulate cholesterol and blood pressure levels; and making stools softer, bulkier and easier to pass, especially good if you suffer constipation or diarrhoea.
Joanna Baker is an Accredited Practising Dietitian and a Registered Nurse who loves food! At Everyday Nutrition she works exclusively in gut health and food intolerance. She aims to help people enjoy food with as much variety as possible while keeping their tummy happy. www.everydaynutriiton.com
ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH?
The best sources of fibre are fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and wholegrains. However, if you struggle to include enough fibre in your diet or your diet is limited or inadequate, a complex dietary fibre supplement like Kfibre (virgin sugarcane prebiotics) will help you to meet your needs. Unlike isolated or purified fibres, Kfibre is a whole plant food fibre, with no artificial additives, colourings, flavourings or preservatives. This means it is a whole food fibre with all the nutrients retained, just like they would be in your vegetables and fruits. It contains the complexity of the cell walls found in fruits and vegetables, and it therefore provides a more complex fibre to feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut. Kfibre has been shown to nourish the entire digestive tract and keep gut microbiota healthy and thriving.