You may have heard that ‘fibre keeps you regular’, and dismissed it thinking that it applies more to older people. However, fibre plays an incredibly important role, not only in keeping your digestive system running smoothly but also in nutrient absorption and weight regulation.
When it comes to fibre in your diet, there are two different types, insoluble and soluble fibre.
Insoluble fibre - Which is found in foods such as flax seeds, lentils and most grains, do not mix with water as the name suggests and because of this, they act as mostly a bulking agent to help the gut expel the waste from the body. This is important in the diet as it prevents constipation as well as bloating and other digestive complaints. Insoluble fibre is important for keeping your digestive system active and working and supports you in preventing bloating and water retention.
Soluble fibre - Which is found in foods such as oat bran, psyllium, nuts and seeds, mixes with fluids in the gut to form a gel like viscous substance that lines your stomach and slows down the rate at which foods are released into the rest of your gut. Why this is so important is because this prolonged time for digestion means that there is more time for the nutrients from your food to be absorbed.
Soluble fiber can’t actually be digested by our body alone and actually acts as a prebiotic (it feeds the good bacteria), which promotes digestive health. This process is called fermentation and it produces short-chain fatty acids that are believed to help regulate your fat metabolism.
So don’t dismiss the need for fibre as something only your grandparents need, fibre is incredibly important to nutrient absorption, and your digestive health in general, no matter what age you are!