10 benefits and functions of humble fibre you may not have known
1. Fibre is only found in plant foods.
There are three main types of fibre: soluble, insoluble and fermentable or ‘prebiotic’ fibre.
2. Fibre is not completely digested by the body
This means it doesn’t get completely absorbed and used for energy like other nutrients. Rather, the undigested bits move through the digestive tract to perform other beneficial functions.
3. Fibre feeds the good bacteria living in the gut
They feed off ‘prebiotic fibre’, using it to produce short chain fatty acids that have a number of health benefits.
4. Fibre helps support a healthy heart by lowering cholesterol
Soluble fibre binds to water and turns to a gel, which helps trap cholesterol so less is re-absorbed into the blood. The remaining cholesterol is then carried into the large intestine to be eliminated as waste.
5. Fibre can help regulate blood sugar levels
Similar to cholesterol, the gel that forms from soluble fibre binds with sugar to slow its absorption into the blood. This means fibre helps to protect against a ‘sugar spike’.
6. Fibre helps you feel fuller at meals
Foods that are high in fibre add bulk to foods so we feel fuller. The slow release of sugar into the blood also helps to control feelings of hunger.
7. Fibre from wheat is one of the most effective fibres for regularity
The bran of wheat grains is the most concentrated source of fibre. Wheat bran fibre is one of the most effective fibres for helping with regularity.
8. Fibre helps produce compounds that protect your gut lining
The bacteria in the gut rely on fibre as a source of food and they then produce gases and compounds called short chain fatty acids that protect the cells of the gut.
9. Some fibres are fermented to provide energy to the cells of the gut.
The good gut bacteria can ferment fibre and produce short chain fatty acids to help provide energy and to protect our gut lining.
10. Fibre helps move toxins through the body so they are eliminated
Fibre works its way through the gut picking up toxins and waste products along the way – a bit like a scrubbing brush for your insides.