Not all dietary fibre are created equal

August 29, 2020

Welcome to the #2 edition of our 4 part education series on dietary fibre. If you missed #1, you can check it out here.

Isn’t fibre just fibre? Nope.

There are a number of different types of fibres found in foods – each play a different role within the gut. It is important that your diet contains a good balance of each type.

Don’t worry. you won’t turn into a plant person if you eat fruit, veg & grains BUT you will get lots of fibre.

Insoluble fibre

…is the indigestible hard outer skins of plant-based foods. This fibre does not dissolve. This adds more bulk to your stools, making it the perfect natural laxative. Furthermore, the bulking process helps stools to travel more quickly through the gut, thereby reducing the possibility of constipation.

Food sources of insoluble fibre:

  • whole grain breads and cereals
  • brown rice
  • nuts and seeds
  • the outer skins of fruit and veggies
  • wheat and rice bran

Soluble fibre

…pulls in water and dissolves to form a thick gel in our digestive tract. As a result, stools are softer, making them easier to pass through our bowel.

We can also keep the hunger pangs at bay because soluble fibre slows down the speed of food emptying from the stomach into the small intestine, therefore keeping us feeling fuller for longer. Soluble fibre also does a great job of keeping blood glucose and blood cholesterol levels in check.

Food sources of soluble fibre

  • oat and oat bran
  • fruits & vegetables
  • barley
  • lentils and legumes
  • psyllium husks.
Rolled oats. The fibre superhero.

Resistant starch

…is the starch from food that “resists” digestion and absorption in the small intestine. This undigested starch then moves onto the large bowel, where it is broken down and fermented by the gut bacteria.

Green bananas are jam-packed with resistant starch

Resistant starch has been shown to have a number of health benefits for the gut including:

  • bulking stools which helps with bowel regularity
  • acting as a prebiotic, encouraging the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut
  • protecting the mucous layer and cells of the colon
  • helping to regulate the pH of the bowels and reduce the production of potentially harmful by products
  • helping to produce SCFAs which, as mentioned, are great for gut health!

Food sources of resistant starch:

  • rolled oats
  • firm bananas
  • lentils and legumes
  • potato (which has been cooked, then cooled)
  • cashews and pistachios

Up next…. “Some fibres are more gassy than others”.

Pic credits
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Photo by @europeana on Unsplash

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