Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot easily break down during digestion, and because we cannot break it down, it passes through our gut into our large intestine. This movement of fibre through our digestive system helps prevent digestive issues such as constipation and diarrhoea (British Nutrition Foundation, 2022). The two main types of fibre are soluble and insoluble fibre, and they have different effects on our gut.
Soluble fibre dissolves in water and can be broken down into a gel-like substance as it passes through your digestive tract. The gel-like substance that it forms can help slow down digestion, and so is most useful for those with issues such as diarrhoea. Soluble fibre is linked to heart protection due to its ability to attach to cholesterol molecules in your body and remove them, which results in lower cholesterol levels overall, as well as a reduction in the risk of heart disease (Pirjo Pietinen, 1996). Soluble fibre is also linked to type 2 diabetes as it can help regulate blood glucose levels and insulin resistance (Andrew Reynolds, 2019 ). This type of fibre can be found in food such as oats, peas, beans, apples, carrots, and Super Milled Grains.
Insoluble fibre does not dissolve in water and is whole as it moves through your digestive system. Insoluble fibre absorbs fluid and sticks to other material in the digestive tract to help bulk up your stool. This allows for easier passage of stool. For this reason, insoluble fibre is most beneficial to those suffering from constipation. Insoluble fibre can improve overall bowel health, prevent constipation, and reduce the risk of colorectal issues. Insoluble fibre can help reduce the risk of haemorrhoids and diverticulitis as it prevents intestinal blockages. Insoluble fibre can also contribute to diabetes management as it supports insulin sensitivity (Chunye Chen, 2016). This type of fibre can be found in Super Milled Grains, nuts, potatoes, green beans, cauliflower, and wheat bran,
The current Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for fibre is between 24-35g a day (Centre for Disease and Control Prevention, 2022). Both insoluble and soluble fibre are an important part of a healthy diet and both contribute to your RDA. If you are thinking of increasing your fibre intake, start slowly to avoid any gastrointestinal issues such as excess gas and bloating. Having a balanced diet that contains a wide range of whole foods such as grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables is an excellent way to ensure you are getting both kinds of fibre!