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Who doesn’t love the poop emoji to get your attention?

Today’s blog is about the unsexy subject, ‘fibre’.  Unsexy, because when we think fibre, we think poo!! But, before we get to that unattractive ‘end product’, there is a whole digestive process our food (and fibre) needs to go through first.

Firstly what is fibre?

Fibre includes plant foods that your body can’t digest or absorb easily.  What makes this a good food choice, is that the longer the digestive process takes to break fibre down, the greater chance, that each of your hungry microbiomes, throughout your digestive tract, get a chance to feed on something.  Unlike fats, proteins and carbs, which are quickly broken down and absorbed, fibre provides a meal for even the most distal part of your tract.  Fibre is also known as pre-biotics and has a much greater effect on increasing the quantity of healthy biome than just taking probiotic supplements.

There are 3 types of fibre: soluble, unsoluble and resistant starch.  They go in the same order as to how long each fibre lasts in the digestive tract.  Having each of these fibres every day will ensure that all your gut biome gets a tasty meal.

  • Soluble fibre dissolves in water to form a gel-like material. It can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels and is found in oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, barley and psyllium.
  • Insoluble fibre promotes the movement of material throughout your digestive system and increases stool bulk, so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation or irregular stools. Whole-wheat flour, wheat bran, nuts, beans, legumes and vegetables, such as cauliflower, green beans and potatoes, are good sources.
  • Resistant starch green bananas,  Beans, peas, and lentils (white beans and lentils are the highest in resistant starch), Whole grains including oats and barley. Cooked and cooled rice, pasta or potato (cooking these foods are then cooling them changing the bonds making them harder to break down through the digestive system).


Another way to get more fibre is to eat foods with fibre added. The added fibre is usually labelled as “inulin” or “chicory root.”

What happens if you don’t eat enough fibre?

  • Backed up bowels mean backed up toxic skin, because the toxins that should be coming out in our poo are being reabsorbed back into the bloodstream
  • Weight gain
  • Low energy
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Stomach aches
  • Bloating
  • The starved biome start to eat the colons mucous lining which results in an impaired leaky gut This can allow bad bacteria to pass through more easily. Leaky gut affects our immune system.  Bad for the body, but also for the skin as it may result in eczema, rosacea, and acne.
  • Fibre can increase the absorption of essential nutrients and antioxidants, and certain nutrients such as lutein, lycopene and vitamin C are essential for collagen production. Antioxidants are known to reduce and prevent ageing due to oxidative stress.

What does the microbiome do with the fibre?

It is important first to note, that only the good bacteria in our body feeds on the fibre.  The bad bacteria prefer sugar and other nutrient poor foods.  So if we keep the fibre high and the sugar low, we will have a chance of creating a much healthier biome. Research shows that diet can affect our biome by as much as 57% whereas genetics is only 12%.

Once the good biome has been fed what it needs (fibre), it will ferment it into short chain fatty acids SCFA. This is the main energy source of coloncytes which are the cells that line our colon.  These cells are responsible for the overall well being of our gut.  Research has proven there is a definite link between our gut and brain.  If our gut is happy the cross talk between gut and brain is good.  Therefore happy gut means:

  • We are happier because 90% of our feel good hormone, serotonin in produced in our gut
  • Cognitive and neural function is improved
  • Stronger immune system
  • Lowered risk of colon cancer
  • Short-chain fatty acids inhibit the growth of bad bacteria and increase the absorption of vitamins and minerals
  • Appetite suppression, weight loss, fat reduction and lowered diabetes risk
  • Lowered cholesterol

The main SCFAs

There are 7 types of SCFA but the three main ones are Acetate, Butyrate and Propionate

  • Acetate in the most abundant: It regulates pH of the gut; controls appetite; nourishes butyrate-producing bacteria and protects against pathogens.
  • Butyrate has the most health properties as it is the primary energy source for colon cells; therefore it helps to prevent leaky gut, combat inflammation and digestive problems and cancer activity.  Butyrate also works via the gut-brain axis, and targets many of the same pathways associated with brain-related conditions and is thought to have many neuroprotective effects. This could help defend against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, but also mental health disorders and autism.
  • Propionate is less studied than other SCFAs but is showing great potential…it lowers cholesterol, regulates appetite; combats inflammation and reduces fat storage. .Studies have shown that it is also able to make cancerous cells commit suicide, in effect, preventing cancer from developing. Therefore, alongside butyrate, it is regarded as a potent SCFA.


How much daily fibre do we need?

Nutrition Australia recommends:  Men:30 grams. Women: 25 grams

Tips for fitting in more fibre

  • Jump-start your day.For breakfast choose a high-fibre breakfast cereal. Opt for cereals with “whole grain,” “bran” or “fibre” in the name. Or add a few tablespoons of unprocessed wheat bran to your cereal.
  • Carbs- Switch to whole grains. Look for breads and cereals that list whole wheat or grain, as the first ingredient on the label. Switch white rice for freekeh, brown rice, wild rice, barley, bulgur wheat.  Try  pasta made from pulses and beans.
  • Bulk up baked goods.Substitute whole-grain flour for white flour when baking and add crushed bran cereal to muffins, cakes and cookies.
  • Beans, peas and lentils are excellent sources of fibre. Add kidney beans to canned soup or a green salad. Or make nachos with refried black beans, lots of fresh veggies, whole-wheat tortilla chips and salsa.  Add Mung with fennel seed, garlic and oil to plate of veggies.
  • Eat more fruit and vegetables and leave skin on Fruits and vegetables are rich in fibre, as well as vitamins and minerals. Try to eat five or more servings daily.
  • Make snacks count.Fresh fruits, raw vegetables, low-fat popcorn and whole-grain crackers are all good choices. A handful of nuts or dried fruits also is a healthy, high-fibre snack — although be aware that nuts and dried fruits are high in calories.
  • Sprinkle nuts and seeds on pasta, soups, salads


High-fibre foods are good for your health. But adding too much fibre too quickly can promote intestinal gas, abdominal bloating and cramping. Increase fibre in your diet gradually over a few weeks. This allows the natural bacteria in your digestive system to adjust to the change.  Also, drink plenty of water. Fibre works best when it absorbs water, making your stool soft and bulky.




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