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Why do I need fibre?

So, you’ve been told you need to eat more fibre.

You’re probably thinking fibre what’s that? How can something so vague be so important? Isn’t it just in everything? Do I really need to implement it specifically?

Well - fibre extremely important for overall health. The modern-day diet is depleted in fibre as it is not found in processed and fast foods.

Let’s start with what fibre is.

-Fibre is a compound found in wholefoods such as veggies, fruits, grains, and legumes – think real food before they are processed.

-There are different types of fibre: insoluble, soluble and resistant starch. We need all of these in our daily diet.

Insoluble fibre – meaning that it doesn’t dissolve in water. This type of fibre absorbs liquid to help soften your stools (a sciency term for your poop) and helps keep everything moving along your bowels. It is found in wholegrains such as cereals, wheat bran and breads, nuts, seeds, and the skin of fruits and veggies. This fibre also promotes healthy and regular bowel movements and keeps us feeling full.

Soluble fibre - meaning that it dissolves in water. This fibre works to slow down the emptying of the contents in our stomachs. This means we feel fuller for longer. It does this by absorbing liquid and firming up the contents in our bowels ready for excretion. Without enough soluble fibre the contents will be runny – aka you’ll have diarrhoea – and no one wants that! Soluble fibre is found in the fleshy inside of fruits and veggies, as well as oats, barely, seeds and legumes.

Resistant Starch: They are the part of the food which isn’t digested fully by the body. This means that once you’ve eaten – let’s say some kale for example – instead of just becoming digested mush, the kale isn’t broken down but remains kale-like all the way through to your large intestine. Now there is a reason for this. Kale remains kale so the bacteria in your gut can use it as their fuel – feeding off the fibre (in this example kale) as it sits and ferments in your intestines before you excrete it out in your stool (lovely picture I know). As this fibre is sitting in your intestines it also produces compounds which are used by the lining of your gut to keep itself healthy. It’s important to note that cooking affects resistant starch – pasta has more when it is undercooked, bananas when they are unripe, and rice and potatoes when they are cooked and cooled.

Don’t worry too much about what type of fibre you’re eating unless you have diarrhoea or severe constipation. Your daily diet should consist of lots of fruits and veg, nuts and wholegrains – all of which cover all fibre bases for you….Mother Nature has done the work for you!

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