Fibre or ‘roughage’ is the stuff in certain foods that keeps us regular and we are encouraged to eat around 30g per day. By eating more fruit and veg, you will instantly ramp up your fibre intake. Why not have a go at a Change4Life challenge over the next 28 days and see the positive difference making small changes to your eating habits will have?
Insoluble vs Soluble – what’s the difference?
Insoluble fibre does not absorb water and provides bulking which keeps us regular and our intestines moving healthily.
Soluble fibre dissolves in water and forms a gel in the gut. This aids hunger (and consequently weight loss) by helping you feel fuller for longer. Soluble fibre is found in good quality whole grains along with veggies and fruits. Oats are a great source of energy and fibre with added benefits. Oats contain beta glucan which is scientifically proven to reduce total and LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol. This in turn can help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. To gain the benefits, research suggests we eat at least 3g of beta glucan per day – which is the equivalent to around 1.5 cups of cooked oats or 1 cup of pearl barley.
Both insoluble and soluble types of fibre can be ‘prebiotic’ which means that after we eat it, it is fermented/broken down by billions and billions of bacteria in our gut, collectively known as micro flora. Soluble fibre is usually fermented in the colon (small intestine) where as insoluble fibre is fermented further down in the large intestine. This process releases loads of short chain fatty acids (SCFA), which are a good thing. SCFA’s have a multitude of benefits to our colon and the rest of our body;
- Producing energy which the body prefers to use instead of glucose. This is a possible reason fibre helps to stabilise blood sugar levels. As SCFA’s are easily absorbed into the blood stream, they also deliver energy to other organs.
- Aiding the growth and metabolic health of cells, helping to protect against certain colonic disorders.
- Helping to lower cholesterol production in the liver
- Reducing the pH of the gut to a level which is inhospitable for pathogenic (bad) bacteria. This in turn reduces the formation of toxic compounds that pathogens can produce.
For examples of good sources of fibre and an example of how to get more into your diet, check out this excellent article by The Nutrition Organisation.
Have a go at making this…