When discussing fibre, we cannot omit the aspect of gut health. Around 70% of your immune system is found in your gut tissue. Healthy gut is therefore one of the first lines of defense for the immune system. Since many people have problems with their digestive system, it’s important to think of your gut health.
It’s not enough that you exercise, reduce stress levels and get enough sleep. You should also take care of your diet and make sure it’s varied and includes many fibre-rich products.
WHY IS FIBRE SO ESSENTIAL?
Billions of microbes call your guts home, some of them good and some bad. Unhealthy diet, packed with processed food that often contains a lot of sugar and unhealthy saturated fats, will most often displace the dietary fibre, resulting in an increase of the bad microbes in the gut. Boost your good bacteria levels by eating more dietary fibre from fruits, vegetables and whole grains. You should also try eating fermented products and feed the good bacteria by eating food rich in prebiotic fibre.
Dietary fibre is a type of carbohydrate. Unlike other carbohydrates, such as sugars and starch, it cannot be digested by our body’s enzymes in the small intestine and reaches the large intestine where it is fermented by bacteria. This kind of fibre consists of indigestible parts of plant-based foods and can be found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains.
We can divide fibre into two groups: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fibre slows down the digestion and keeps you feeling full for longer. Some types of soluble fiber, such as beta-glucan, may help lower the risk of heart disease.1
Insoluble fibre adds bulk to stool, promotes good bowel movements and lowers the risk of constipation. Evidence shows that diets rich in dietary fibre are associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and colon cancer.2
According to EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), we should eat 30 g (25-35 g) of dietary fibre every day. Global data shows that we only eat 23 g of dietary fibre in general.3
Here’s a suggestion of what you can eat to reach the recommended amount of 30 g of dietary fibre a day:
• 1 portion of oatmeal (3 g)
• 2 slices of brown bread (4 g)
• 3 unskinned potatoes (6 g)
• 1 dl of green peas (5 g)
• 2 carrots (4 g)
• 1 green apple (4 g)
• 1 banana (2 g)
• 15 almonds (2 g)
Prebiotic fibre is a type of soluble (gel-forming) dietary fibre that feeds your good microbes and improves your digestive health.
Two well-studied types of prebiotic fibre are inulin and FOS (fructooligosaccharides). There are almost 100 scientific or clinical studies showing the positive health benefits of prebiotic fibre, including:
• positive impact on intestinal function:
o increases frequency and volume of stools
o improves intestinal comfort
• positive impact on immune system
• positive impact on mineral absorption:
o increased bioavailability of calcium, magnesium and copper
You can find prebiotic fibre in such foods as chicory root, artichoke, garlic, leek, onion and banana.
Probiotics are not the same as prebiotic fibre. They are actually existing good microbes, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, that you add to the gastrointestinal tract. For instance, if you have taken antibiotics, it could be beneficial to add probiotics to your diet, since the antibiotics harm both the good and bad microbes. However, you need to make sure you take probiotics at a different time than antibiotics. For example, if you take antibiotics in the morning, probiotics should be taken in the evening, to ensure they are at least few hours apart.
Prebiotics vs. Probiotics
So, what’s the difference between prebiotics and probiotics? Think of your gut microbiota as an ecosystem – just like a garden.
Prebiotics are food for the good microbes to thrive, like a fertiliser for garden flowers.
Probiotics are the new good bacteria that you can add to your gut just like new plants in the garden.
Fibre from Wellness by Oriflame
If you know that you’re not eating enough dietary fibre each day, Wellness by Oriflame can support you in that matter.
The Natural Balance Shake contains 1,6-1,8 g of dietary fibre per serving, depending on the flavour. Consuming two shakes per day as a snack will give you almost 4 g of dietary fibre from rosehip, sugar beets and apple. These dietary fibres will aid your digestion and help to prevent constipation.