For many of us, fibre is one of those elusive health terms we can’t quite put our fingers on. What exactly is it, do its powers extend beyond fighting constipation (which we’re not denying is a worthy cause), and does it come in anything other than All Bran Flakes?
We’ve got the skinny for you.
In a nutshell, fibre (also known as roughage or bulk) has an important role to play in your body. It has a widespread range of benefits, fending off chronic diseases like heart attacks and diabetes, while supporting gut health and regulating your weight. It’s pretty easy to eat enough of it too, since it’s in a variety of everyday foods.
So, what is it?
Fibre is the part of certain foods – predominantly plants – that your body can’t digest or absorb. It passes through your body relatively intact. Generally, there are two classified kinds of fibre – soluble and insoluble.
Soluble vs. insoluble fibre
Soluble fibre dissolves – but doesn’t disappear – in water, forming a gel-like material. You’ll find it in foods like oats, peas, legumes, citrus fruits, barley and psyllium husk.
Insoluble fibre doesn’t dissolve, and is probably the type that first comes to your mind. That is, it adds bulk to your diet and speeds up movement through the bowel. It’s found in plenty of veggies (cauliflower, green beans and potatoes are good sources), beans, nuts, whole-wheat flour and wheat bran.
Many plant-based foods, like oats and beans, contain both soluble and insoluble fibre.
The benefits of fibre
- Insoluble fibre normalises bowel movements, adding bulk and softening stools, making them easier to pass.
- It therefore helps keep your bowel healthy, lowering your risk of haemorrhoids and small pouches in your colon (diverticular disease).
- Soluble fibre in particular can help lower unhealthy cholesterol, and possibly reduce blood pressure and inflammation.
- It can also slow the absorption of sugar to help regulate sugar levels, possibly reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Higher fibre foods in general tend to be more filling, so you’re likely to eat less and stay satisfied for longer. They also tend to take longer to eat while being lower in calories I.e. they have fewer calories for the same volume of food.
Since our superfoods powders are made from whole plants, you get a ton of fibre from the variety of plants included. We’ve also added specific high-fibre elements, like apple pectin (the high-fibre carbohydrate part of a fruit). Since most plants have more insoluble fibre than soluble, you need to make a little extra effort to include more soluble fibre in your diet. That’s why we’ve added in acacia soluble fibre to our Superfoods Blend with Fibre. In addition to the regular benefits of soluble fibre, acacia fibre is said to be a prebiotic (a non-digestible food that can stimulate the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines). We also chose it because it isn’t gritty when stirred into water and it’s mild in taste too.