Fibres are plant-based carbohydrates
Carbohydrates can be simple\complex sugars or fibres.
Fibres are different from sugars and starch.
They are not digested in the small intestine but reach the large intestine.
Fibres have an important part in healthy digestion and diseases prevention.
If we take a deeper look into fibres we can define between 2 types:
Soluble and Insoluble fibre
- Soluble fibre attracts water and turns to gel during digestion. This slows digestion.
- Insoluble fibre adds bulk to the stool and appears to help food pass more quickly through the stomach and intestines.
Soluble fibre can be found in oats, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, peas, and some fruits and vegetables. It is also found in psyllium, a common fibre supplement.
Some types of soluble fibre may help lower the risk of heart disease.
Insoluble fibre can be found in nuts, wheat bran, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Fibres help to keep our digestive system healthy.
- Fibres help to prevent constipation.
- Fibres help the waste to move through the digestive tract more quickly.
- Fibres and cholesterol:
foods such as oats and barley contain a type of fibre known as beta-glucan, which may help to reduce cholesterol levels (if you consume 3g or more of it daily, as part of a healthy diet).
Research has found that there are two forms of β-glucans: insoluble and soluble forms. They are able to interact with lipids and biliary salts in the bowel and consequently reduce cholesterol levels.1
One and a half cups of cooked oatmeal (rolled not instant) provide 3g of beta-glucans; 1 cup of cooked pearl barley contains approximately 2.5g of beta-glucans.
Beta-glucans have been the subject of intensifying research because they may have beneficial roles in lowering insulin resistance and blood cholesterol, reducing the risk of obesity, and boosting the immune system to fight cancer.
- Fibres and prebiotics: some types of fibre can help to increase the good bacteria in the gut.
The fibre provides a food source (prebiotic) for ‘friendly’ gut bacteria helping them to increase and produce short-chain fatty acids (they are produced when the friendly gut bacteria ferment fibre in your colon) and are the main source of energy for the cells lining your colon.
Type of Fibre as a supplement: FOS and INULIN
FOS and inulin are one of the most beneficial types of prebiotics for feeding our gut bacteria.
They belong to the same family of Fructooligosaccharide, both can be naturally derived from chicory and the primary difference between them is that inulin is a longer chain Fructooligosaccharide than FOS.
Some research indicates that FOS may exert a broader therapeutic benefit than inulin.
They are naturally sweet and can be used as a healthy alternative to sugar (for example, sprinkled over food such as porridge).
Fibre intake should increase to 30g a day for adults (aged 17 years and over).
On average, we consume much less than this – about 18g per day.
To increase your fibre intake you could:
- Choose wholegrain cereal over white flour in any opportunity.
- add some fresh fruit, dried fruit, seeds and/or nuts.
- Eat veggies with the skins e.g. baked potato, carrots or cucumbers.
- Include plenty of vegetables with meals.
- Keep a supply of frozen vegetables so you are never without.
- Add pulses like beans, lentils or chickpeas to stews, curries and salads.
If you wish to get a full naturopathic diet plan to increase your fibres or just to support a healthy lifestyle, I would love to hear from you, feel free to contact PazByNature clinic here 🙂
My name is Pazit, I’m a registered Naturopath N.D. , MNNA (a member of the Naturopathic Nutrition Association), Herbalist, Aromatherapist and Bach Flower remedies therapist based in London.
www.pazbynature.com Health & Wellness Blog includes travel inspiration, healthy food and natural remedies.