Increasing your fibre intake may – at first – seem like a bit of a contradiction. On the one hand, fibre not typically absorbed very well by the body. Why eat more of something that your body can’t absorb? On the other hand, if your diet lacks fibre, you will definitely know about it. Let’s take a closer look at why you need fibre.

 

Why You Need Fibre

The benefits of fibre can best be studied by looking at what diets lacking in fibre can cause versus the benefits that diets rich in fibre offer. Diets low in fibre can lead to a number of health conditions, ranging from constipation and weight gain to fatigue and blood sugar fluctuations. Diets high in fibre generally lead to  much better overall health, weight management, more regular bowel movements, better digestion and a reduced risk of a range of serious diseases.

 

The 2 types of fibre

There are two types of dietary fibre that are both subtly different, yet both are important for overall health.

 

1. Soluble Fibre

Soluble fibre can be digested by your body, but usually very slowly compared to other carbohydrates. As a result, when you eat a diet rich in soluble fibre, the soluble fibre is digested slowly and can lead to more sustained energy and constant blood sugar levels after eating. High fibre diets can also help with weight loss, as the slow digestion of soluble fibre leads to longer feeling of fullness that may prevent snacking and a more prolonged energy release.

 

Why You Need Soluble Fibre

Soluble fibre may help with:

  • cholesterol management
  • controlling blood sugar levels
  • inflammatory bowel conditions

Good Sources of Soluble Fibre

  • Oats
  • nuts
  • seeds
  • peas
  • Vegetables

 

2. Insoluble Fibre

We have established that soluble fibre can be digested, albeit slowly. Insoluble fibre, on the other hand, remains largely undigested as it passes through your digestive tract. Just because it is not digested does not mean it doesn’t play a critical role in digestion and overall health. During digestion, insoluble fibre passes through to the intestine, bringing water with it. This increases bulk and hydration of waste products. In short, this helps you go to the bathroom more regularly and the additional water in your waste helps you avoid constipation. Insoluble fibre can also help promote a feeling of fullness for those looking to lose weight / reduce snacking.

 

Why You Need Insoluble Fibre

Insoluble Fibre may help with:

  • maintaining regular bowel movement
  • weight management

 

Good sources of Insoluble fibre

  • leafy green vegetables
  • root vegetables
  • carrots
  • raisins

 

Superfoods For Fibre

Super Chia Seeds not only contains double the amount of fibre than oats, they also contain both soluble and insoluble fibre, so are a great way to top up your dietary fibre levels. Try them if you are actively looking for an easy way to increase your fibre intake.

Final Tips For Increasing Fibre

  • Adults need to get 25 to 30g of fibre each day. Most Australians do not get this much fibre. If you are struggling to get enough fibre in your diet, a fibre supplement like our Adult Fibre VitaGummies  may offer some benefit.
  • Sudden increases in dietary fibre may cause abdominal pain or flatulence. If you currently have a low fibre diet and are trying to increase your fibre levels, do so gradually over the course of several weeks.
  • Finally, increasing your fibre intake may require an increase in the amount of water you need to drink in a day. Since you pass more water as waste in a high fibre diet, increasing fibre intake may bring increased risk  of dehydration. Dry mouth, increased thirst, headache or dark coloured urine are all signs you may be dehydrated and need to drink more water.

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This article was provided by our online health partner Health365. If you would like to learn more about why you need fibre (among other things), visit www.health365.com.au.