Gone are the days where fibre is only recommended to our grandparents. This specific type of carbohydrate is absolutely jam packed with benefits, but unfortunately the majority of people aren’t getting enough of it in their diets. In order to get the most out of fibre, it’s important to first understand the different types that exist: soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fibre dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance that slows down the digestion and absorption of nutrients, therefor helping prevent blood sugar spikes. It also lowers blood cholesterol by binding to it in the GI tract and removing it from your body. Soluble fibre increases the viscosity of food in your digestive tract making you feel full for longer. This type of fibre can ferment, which makes it an amazing source of food for the good bacteria that live in your gut. When the bacteria get to feed on the fermented fibre, they create short-chain fatty acids that provide us with energy, fight inflammation, balance blood sugar and even improve metabolism.
Insoluble fibre on the other hand, cannot be digested or absorbed by the body, meaning it passes through our digestive system intact. This means it has no effect on blood sugar levels because our bodies are unable to brake it down. It promotes fullness, a healthy digestive system and can help with constipation and smooth bowel movements. Together these fibres can help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even some cancers, while promoting healthy digestion, nutrient absorption, blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
The idea of having to get two different kinds of fibre into your diet is definitely more overwhelming than just trying to focus on one. But luckily, there are plenty of foods that contain both types of fibre. Just start by adding sources of whole plant-based foods to your meals, and you’ll be getting enough fibre no problem. Pro-tip: the more diversity of plant-based foods in your diet, the more diverse your fibre sources will be!
These are our favourite fibre-rich foods to help get you started:
- Oats, Amaranth, Buckwheat, Brown Rice, Barley, Quinoa, Beans & Lentils
- Chia Seeds, Flaxseeds, Sunflower Seeds, Almonds, Psyllium Husk
- Cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, Broccoli, Green Beans, Artichokes, Dark Leafy Greens, Turnips, Carrots, Sweet Potato, Fruit and Vegetable Skins
- Avocados, Bananas, Prunes, Berries, Pears, Apples, Figs, Nectarines, Apricots
Julia Gibson is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, functional foods recipe developer, and write currently based in Toronto. She hopes to inspire and empower others by creating nourishing foods, living a sustainable life, promoting holistic healing and sharing thoughtful writing.
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