What is it?...Fibre!
It's the part of plant foods that does not completely digest when we consume it. Because of its structure, it passes through our stomach, then our small intestine and eventually ends up in our large intestine, undigested.
Now our large intestine is home to literally millions of tiny bacteria. Most of them are good, some are bad and others are pretty neutral.
These gut bacteria are called microflora and they feed on fibre found in our diets.
Fibre only comes from plant foods.
What’s real important to know is that the bacteria in our guts cannot function very well without fibre… And you definitely want them functioning well, if you want to function well.
Our gut bacteria play an essential role in our:
Nutrient metabolism – including the synthesis of Vitamin K and a few B vitamins
Gut barrier integrity and structure
Fibre is mostly a carbohydrate, and there are 2 main types:
1. Soluble fibre – which includes mucilage, pectins and gums. When consumed, it attracts water and turns to gel, which slows digestion. This helps you feel full and in turn aids weight management, and healthier blood glucose and cholesterol levels.
Good sources of soluble fibre include:
2. Insoluble fibre – which includes cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin.
It adds bulk to your stools and helps food pass more quickly through your intestinal tract.
Good sources of insoluble fibre include:
fruits and vegetable skins
nuts & seeds
Now there are some types of fibre that are referred to as prebiotics.
These are some of my favourite food components for the body... but more importantly the gut bacteria!
A prebiotic is a food ingredient that is selectively fermented, altering the composition and/or activity of the microflora (aka gut bacteria), and as a result confers benefits upon the hosts (your) well-being and health.
Galacto-oligiosaccharides (GOS), inulin and resistant starch are all types of prebiotics.
Prebiotic foods include: