Today on the blog we are discussing all things fibre and good gut health, which is such a hot topic at the moment, although I think that sometimes we do take for granted that our bodies autonomously digest the foods we eat without us having to worry about anything at all.
We enjoy eating food for the taste, texture, emotional connection, and of course, for the health benefits too. However, some foods are worth more than others in their ability to help digestion.
Our gut is bustling with millions of healthy bacteria that help to unlock the nutrients in some of the foods we eat as well as helping us to go to the toilet easily and regularly. One nutrient in particular plays a vital role in digestion, and this is fibre. Often overlooked, fibre is an essential nutrient to keep the gut functioning at its best.
You may not be aware that there are actually two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble fibre. Both are equally important however they each play a different role in our digestion.
Soluble fibre is found naturally in plant foods, namely the flesh of fruits, vegetables and within wholegrains. Whereas insoluble fibre is found in the skins of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and in the bran or the husk of wholegrains.
Soluble fibre is digested in the small intestines where nutrients in the foods we eat are broken down, ready to be used to nourish our body. Soluble fibre gets its name because it keeps the gut hydrated by creating a gel-like texture in the bowel. This means that the digested food is soft and moves easily through the gut, which is essential to keeping you regular in the bathroom and having good digestive health.
Insoluble fibre is the part of the plant that is unable to be digested by the gut. But as it turns out, this is a good thing! It is responsible for creating the bulk within the large intestine, and for preventing constipation and discomfort. Additionally, and almost more importantly, insoluble fibre creates a source of food to feed all those fantastic gut bacteria. Gut bacteria is so important for a healthy functioning gut because the flora (different types of bacteria) we have in our gut can determine how well we feel with our physical health, how well we can digest our food, and having good gut health supports a healthy immune system. This is why including regular serves of insoluble fibre (such as wholegrain cereals like All Bran, and oats) in the diet is essential to keeping the gut flora happy and balanced.
So you can probably tell now that a nutritionist’s best friend is fibre, which is why we are always banging on about how fantastic it is to eat the skins of fruits and veg and to have wholegrains (like brown rice, quinoa and wholemeal bread and cereals). In addition to maintaining gut health, fibre acts as a filler, creating bulk within the stomach which helps you to feel fuller for longer.
The recommended serving of fibre daily for adults is 30g for men and 25g for women. What this looks like in terms of food is around 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of veg in addition to including a slice or two of wholegrain bread and a bowl of wholegrain cereal for brekky.
This can also include off the shelf products like breads and cereals that have added fibre, which can make things easier and cheaper when it comes to getting that daily recommended amount of fibre we talked about. One ready to buy cereal we recommend is All Bran by Kellogg’s. All Bran is made from quite literally the bran on the outside of a kernel of wheat. It’s super easy to include in a daily routine; if not as part of breakfast with milk but also in other ways throughout the day, like as a snack with yogurt and fruit or in pancakes, muffins and bircher. Kellogg’s has a range of 17 ready to buy cereals that are full of grain fibre so you’ll never be stuck for choice when it comes to supporting your gut health. To kick-start your gut health this week, we are sharing a super easy gut-loving pancake recipe that includes All Bran in the batter so you can enjoy a little more fibre throughout your day!
This post is in partnership with Kellogg's Nutrition but as always, my thoughts and opinions are honest and my own.