What this Dietitian and You are Deficient in
Lately I’ve been feeling like the last remaining cheerleader for fibre. Everyone with their crazy paleo and keto diets have decided to abandon this amazing nutrient and are now suffering the consequences. Bloated? Constipated? Unexplained diarrhea? Gas? (Sounds like a Pepto-Bismol ad?!?) Well you might just be fibre deficient. Even if your gut is healthy and happy, I’m betting that you’re still not consuming an adequate amount of fibre a day because we all are deficient – even me!
Bloating and constipation are the best of friends because if you are bloated, chances are, you are also constipated. This is due to either being plugged up or having slow transit time. What to do? Eat more fibre! On the other hand if you are experiencing unexplained diarrhea try incorporating more soluble fibre into your diet to bulk up your stools. What about gas from the bacteria in your gut? Eat plenty of fibre to ensure that you grow healthy bacteria, and that the gas moves through at a good rate. Have I sold you yet on incorporating more fibre into your diet?
Did you know that there are two types of fibre each with their own health benefits?
To keep things simple, let’s just focus on soluble fibre because not only is it easier to digest but it is also responsible for reducing the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which includes diarrhea. Fibre helps to improve appetite and blood sugar levels in addition to improving the health of the gut – and the bacteria that reside within it. What an amazing nutrient!
How much fibre?
Adult men should get 38 grams of total fibre and adult women should get 25 grams of fibre every day. By focusing on total fibre you will likely get more soluble fibre as a result. Unfortunately, nutrition labels do not break “fibre” down into its two categories (soluble & insoluble).
Choose soluble fibre rich foods
Such as: oranges, eggplant, okra, avocado, passion fruit, chia seeds, lentils and chickpeas. Add in fibre slowly to allow your digestive system time to adjust and ensure that you drink plenty of water so that it doesn’t constipate you. If you are brave and ready to jump all in - add a scoop of psyllium husks to your smoothies or yogurt every day…this is my new morning routine!
Warning! Gluten free foods and even a lot of salads can actually be low fibre and fibre is critical to rebuilding the gut flora.
Getting more soluble fibre can be easy with a few small changes. Foods like vegetables and fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds have the fibre you need for a tiptop shape gut!
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