Gut health is a hot topic. We're all beginning to see a move towards a focus on fibre and rightfully so. A healthy gut involves the restoration of your gut's optimal bacterial flora population. Being aware of your diet helps reinforce and maintain a healthy gastrointestinal tract which helps fight illness and keep you feeling your best! Therefore, the two are very much interlinked as consuming a diet high in fibre helps contribute towards a healthy gut.
Dietary fibres are non-digestible carbohydrates which are split up into two main groups – soluble fibre and insoluble fibre. Although, many high fibre foods combine both of these fibre types. Both types of fibre will ferment in the gut to some degree but this fermentation will differ between the groups.
The key roles of fibre include the reduction in intestinal transit time, promotion of fecal bulk, reduction in secondary bile production and a promotion in the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) as a by-product of dietary fibre fermentation. These SCFAs have been shown to aid energy metabolism. Consuming a fibre rich diet helps the body function at its best, promotes a healthy gut, can aid with everyday health issues like weight loss and constipation and can stop you reaching for unhealthy snacks as it can keep you feeling fuller for longer throughout your day.
Evidently, dietary fibre is hugely important for a healthy functioning of our gut. Here are some key sources of fibre rich foods you should incorporate into your diet in order to achieve your 30g a day recommendation.
High fibre foods list
Oats contain beta-glucans which are also soluble fibres. Research suggests beta-glucans help to reduce cholesterol and they serve as a yummy breakfast! Good quality high fibre cereals also help with constipation and promote faecal excretion.
• Fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are high in soluble fibres which help your body remove waste easily. Raspberries are at the top of the list of high fibre fruits with each cup containing about 8 grams of dietary fibre which is more than 1/3 of your total daily need.
• Whole grains
Whole grains contain more dietary fibre over refined grains. Most of the fibre is confined within the outer layers of the grain which are removed when processed. As a result whole grains are recommended as part of a healthy balanced diet.
• Legumes and pulses
Foods such as chickpeas, lentils and beans are particularly high in dietary fibre.
• Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds contain insoluble fibres. These fibres promote fecal bulk and the removal of waste through the gut.
Fibre is hugely important and beneficial within the diet. Some research suggests fibre may even play a role in reducing the risk of diabetes and colon cancer. However like with any dietary changes, introducing more fibre into your diet should be done under supervision and slowly. Drastically increasing your fibre intake without speaking to a professional may lead to complications. If these foods are not foods which you consume regularly be sure to introduce them in small amounts!
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Weickert, M. O., & Pfeiffer, A. F. (2008). Metabolic effects of dietary fiber consumption and prevention of diabetes. The Journal of nutrition, 138(3), 439-442.
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Ferguson, L. R., & Harris, P. J. (1999). Protection against cancer by wheat bran: role of dietary fibre and phytochemicals. European Journal of Cancer Prevention, 8(1), 17-26.