It a shitty topic to discuss but poo chat is important and very, very healthy.
What is fibre?
Fibre is the indigestible parts of plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits, grains, beans and legumes. It is type of a carbohydrate that helps keep our digestive systems healthy.
There are three types of fibre:
- Soluble Fibre: helps to slow the emptying process in our stomachs, which helps you feel fuller longer. It also helps to lower cholesterol and stabilise your blood glucose levels. Soluble fibre is found in fruits, vegetables, oats, barley and legumes.
- Insoluble Fibre: absorbs water to help to soften the contents of our bowels and support regular bowel movements. It also helps to keep us full and keep the bowel environment healthy. It is found in wholegrain breads and cereals, nuts, seeds, wheat bran and the skin of fruit and vegetables.
- Resistant Starch: is not digested in the small intestine and instead proceeds to the large intestine where it can assist in the production of good bacteria and improve bowel health. Resistant starch is found in undercooked pasta, under ripe bananas, cooked and cooled potato and rice.
The shocking truth
Bowel regularity is harder to come by than you would believe with many people reaching for dietary and fibre supplements to help…well, you know. If you eat whole, plant-based foods, you will never understand how companies make a profit out of selling fibre. It is in abundance and better yet, FREE, in every single fruit, vegetable, grain, nut, seed and legume.
Fibre is vital for a healthy body and mind. Our bowel/gut health have been linked to so many ailments, including both physical and mental health problems. With all the chemicals, emulsifiers, lack of fibre and preservatives in fast foods our guts get confused and irritated resulting in many ailments and complications. For example disrupted bowel movements, constipation, bloating, IBS, and chronic immune diseases like chrones disease.
The importance of dietary fibre
Dietary fibre has been shown to assist with constipation, reduce cholesterol, remove toxins, reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, helps digestion, maintains bowel health, and much, much more. Dietary fibre also helps to keep you fuller for longer and satiates you much better than overly processed foods. It is important to add dietary fibre from whole food plant-based sources rather than from fibre supplements, as these can aggravate or contribute to constipation, especially if you do not increase the amount of water you drink daily.
Also, an increase to your fibre intake doesn't have to result in an increase in your total calories. You can easily double your fibre intake without increasing your calorie intake by being more selective. Vegetables are very rich in fibre, high in nutrients and low in calories. Therefore adding extra handfuls of vegetables to your meals is super easy, cost effective and beneficial to your waistline and regularity. High fibre foods are more filling than low-fibre foods, so you're likely to eat less and stay satisfied longer, helping you control and maintain a healthy weight.
Side effects of an increase in dietary fibre
High fibre foods are great for your health, both physically and mentally. However, adding too much fibre too quickly into your diet can promote intestinal gas, abdominal bloating and cramping. I suggest that you increase fibre in your diet gradually over a few weeks, hence 21days2vegan. This allows the natural bacteria in your digestive system to adjust to the change. Fibre also works best when it absorbs water, making your stool soft and bulky and easier to excrete. So, up your water intake when you up your fibre.
As a side note, some raw vegetables are great, however, when introducing more fibre into your diet start by steaming and softening your vegetables.
- The Australian Nutrition Foundation (2014) Fibre, retrieved 23 september 2019 from http://www.nutritionaustralia.org/sites/default/files/Fibre-2014.pdf