Why is Fibre so important?

You’re hardly human after all

Did you know you are only about 10% human.  That’s right. If you add up all the cells that are part of what makes “you”, around 90% are cells that are not actually human.  The rest are bacteria and other single-cell organisms that reside on our skin, in our our mouths, in our lungs, but mostly in our digestive system.

Might sound a bit gruesome but it’s actually good news. These bacteria are here to keep us healthy and happy with glowing skin and heaps of energy. But only if we treat them right.

Bacteria? Yuk!

Growing up we learnt that bacteria were “germs”, to be avoided by hand-washing and avoiding contact with dirty places. We now know that most bacteria are not only harmless but actually beneficial.

About 500 different species of bacteria live in the intestine, totaling about 100 trillion cells. These gut bacteria are also known as the gut flora.  There is a mutually beneficial relationship between you and some of the bacteria that live in your digestive system. You provide food, shelter and a safe habitat for the bacteria. In return, they take care of some things that the human body cannot do on its own.

Of the many different kinds of bacteria, some are crucial for various aspects of your health, including weight, blood sugar control, immune function and even brain function. You may wonder what this has to do with fibre. Just like any other organism, bacteria need nourishment to survive and function. The problem is that most carbs, proteins and fats are absorbed into the bloodstream before they make it to the large intestine, leaving little in the way of nutrients to feed for the gut flora.

How does fibre fit in?

This is where fibre comes in. We don’t have the enzymes to digest most fibre, so it reaches the large intestine relatively relatively unchanged. Our friendly bacteria, however, do have the enzymes to digest many of these fibres and extract nutrients from them. In this way they act as prebiotics, feeding our good bacteria which keep us healthy.

The friendly bacteria produce nutrients for the body, which can feed the cells in the colon, leading to reduced gut inflammation and improvements in digestive disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. 

Other benefits include weight loss and maintenance, bowel health and regular bowel movements, controlling blood sugars and cholesterol and much more. We are still discovering the amazing properties of fibre and it’s believed that a fibre-rich diet helps you live longer with studies suggesting that increasing  cereal fibre is associated with a reduced risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and all cancers.

So it’s not just to cure constipation, right!

The one downside, short-lived but embarrassing, is that when the bacteria ferment the fibre, they also produce gases. This is the reason high-fibre diets can cause flatulence and stomach discomfort in some people. These side effects usually go away with time as your body adjusts.

How Do You Get Your Fibre

Soluble fibre dissolves easily and mixes with your waste to help keep your intestines “flowing”. Good sources are oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus fruits, carrots, and barley.
Insoluble fiber passes through the systems relatively undigested and helps add bulk to your stools. This also helps keep your intestines healthy and productive. Wholegrains. nuts, and many types of vegetables contain this type of fibre.

Are you getting enough?

It is estimated that the average western diet provides less than half the recommended amount of fibre.

Whilst adding more fibre-rich foods to your diet is obviously the best way to achieve your needs, the reality is that many of us find that hard to do.  The best option then is to take a high-quality food supplement which provides the appropriate fibre in a form that your body can utilise effectively.

Arbonne’s Fibre Support provides almost half the recommended fibre you need each day.