Fibre is best known for its role in “keeping us regular”. But the scientific and medical communities are constantly discovering new ways that dietary fibre supports our health beyond its effect on digestion.
What is fibre?
Dietary fibre is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be broken down by the human body. Instead, fibre travels to the large intestine undigested where is it partially or completely broken down by a large community of beneficial gut bacteria. The trillions of microbes that reside in our large intestine are collectively known as the gut microbiota. We keep our gut microbes healthy and thriving by feeding them with plenty of dietary fibre (their favourite food).
Why is fibre a superfood?
Fibre has earned its title as a superfood for several reasons. Here’s the top 4:
1. Reduces inflammation
When our gut bacteria digest and ferment fibre, they produce anti-inflammatory substances, called Short Chain Fatty Acids (SCFAs). SCFAs are fundamental to human health, and play an important role in immune health, metabolism, mental wellbeing, and keeping our gut lining healthy. We wrote a whole post about SCFAs here.
2. Supports digestion
Fibre absorbs water in our digestive tract, and improves the bulk (weight) and consistency of our stool. This is the main way that fibre works to keep us regular, and reduce common digestive symptoms like constipation, diarrhoea, and bloating.
3. Promotes metabolic benefits
Fibre is thickened in the gut (due to its ability to absorb water), and delays the emptying of the stomach contents. By slowing down the digestive process, fibre keeps us feeling full for longer, helps with weight management, reduces the absorption of cholesterol into the bloodstream, and helps to prevent blood sugar spikes.
4. Live longer and healthier
Increasing fibre by just 8g per day has been linked with a 19% lower risk of heart disease, 15% lower risk of type 2 diabetes, and 8% lower risk of colon cancer.
How much do we need?
The recommended intake of fibre for a typical adult is 30g each day. This is equivalent to:
- 5 serves of vegetables
- 2 pieces of fruit
- 3 serves of wholegrains
- 2 portions of nuts, seeds, and legumes
Getting our fibre intake exclusively from whole foods is ideal. But for many of us, this just isn't possible. Busy schedules, low energy, poor sleep, and too much stress, means that we simply don’t have the time or energy to cook the right kinds of food.
The latest figures show that 90% of us fail to consume the recommended intake, with the average person getting about 18g each day.
What else can I do to get enough fibre?
We get it. It’s hard to get enough fibre.
This is why the microbiome scientists and dietitians at myota have developed a number of custom fibre mixes that provides 1/3 (10g) of your fibre needs in just one tablespoon.
Our fibres are specifically designed to support immunity, metabolic health, mental wellbeing, digestive health, and gut microbiome diversity. Our mixes are purified versions of the fibres that comes from natural plant sources. Find out more here.