Why is fibre so important to our health?
When we think of nutrients and superfoods we often don’t think about – fibre, water and enzymes.
Fibre, water and enzymes are all ingredients we find in live unprocessed foods and as we will see below are vital to our wellness, weight management, mood balance and disease control.
FYI – When we cook or process foods it’s fibre and enzymes degrade and the water evaporates.
Fibre fights Weight
Calories & Quantities
Why does dietary fibre support weight loss?
Dietary fibre foods contain water, are low in calories, and are satisfying and filling to eat. When we eat fibre it’s really hard to overeat as it takes time and effort to chew, we can’t ‘wolf’ our food down.
These foods come in the colours of the rainbow and you can eat as much as you want of them!
Perhaps most important to notice, our body seems to know exactly when it’s full when we eat these natural foods and we suddenly lose the interest to chew! Try and notice for yourself.
A fibre-rich meal feels very filling yet not heavy. You can retain clarity and energy without the post-meal drowsiness.
A fibre full diet helps regulate sugar and insulin, allowing our body to be balanced throughout the day and reducing our storage of fat.
Our fibre full intestines signal our brain to initiate satiation hormones, telling our body it is full and to stop eating.
It also signals for elimination and provides the basis for good quality elimination that reduce our storage of wastes and old matter within.
Satiation normally occurs as soon as the body has had enough with live plant fibre full foods. By comparison, with cooked food there is a 20-minute delay of satiation hormone release, explaining why it’s so easy to over-eat cooked foods. It’s simply not possible to sense, without a delay, when one is actually full.
Gut-Brain Communication is key
To sum up, the intestines are great communicators containing a high level of nerve cells that in the presence of fibre signal with the brain indicating:
- When you are full (Satiation).
- When to produce energy.
- When not to store fat.
- When to eliminate wastes.
Fibre fights Disease
Plant-based fibre is known to reduce the risk of heart disease (1), obesity & diabetes (2), certain cancers (3) and may even create a chemical cascade resulting in reduced brain inflammation, which in turn could mean less cognitive decline and memory loss with age, and decreased risk of neurodegenerative diseases (4).
The mechanism by which these occur is complex to describe, and are often not fully known.
We do know that:
Dietary fibre is the indigestible portion of plant foods and has two main components: insoluble & soluble fibre.
Our digestive system consists of a series of muscular organs from mouth to anus. Being indigestible, fibre provides resistance to the digestive muscles and strengthens and tones them.
Dietary fibre helps move the undigested food matter along the digestive tract for digestion and absorption as well as sweeping along wastes for elimination. Our bowel movements are made up of dead cells, pathogens and bacteria. When we are constipated we retain waste.
If you have ever seen a cat eat a lot of grass, make stomach washing machine sounds and then cough it up – you’ve seen the instinct to keep a digestive tract clean in action. Cats don’t digest grass, they eat it for the fibre content and it cleans their stomach (they are carnivores so this is their main digestive organ) and coughs it up together with the wastes it now holds.
Humans may have lost this instinct, however, we do feel good on fibre and it keeps us clean if we eat it regularly.
Fibre Fights Stress
The soluble fibre ferments in the gut supporting the healthy microbiome, which is vital for our immunity as well as serotonin production. Seratonin was previously considered a neurotransmitter, as it was originally found in the brain, however, it’s actually a hormone and our guts produce up to 95 % of this feel-good hormone (5). Seratonin helps with sleeping, eating and digestion.
Fibre-enriched diets improve insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. Eating right can help you avoid these ups and downs, enabling more stable and balanced energy levels.
We also see that the brain utilises the vagus nerve to message to signal to the brain. The vagus nerve activates our rest & restore parasympathetic system and is key is restoring balance after stress.
I know I felt balanced from within for the first time when I discovered raw foods at the age of 26… that’s 23 years ago! I was amazed that foods made such a difference in healing my body of its chronic immune deficiency and reliance on allopathic drugs. Many of the experts in the field have this first-hand experience of a life-threatening disease which motivated them to try new methods to heal themselves.
Live foods are the foods our body expects to feed on and so we shouldn’t really be suptised that we’re designed to thrive on them.