You might have heard that fiber is good for the gut, a digestive wellness champion or a brilliant bowel movement kick starter. It’s even considered to be a super food – super by name, super by nature.
First things first, what is fiber?
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that cannot be broken down by our digestive system no matter how hard it tries. And this is fiber’s secret to success. As we can’t break fiber down, it reaches our large intestine (also known as the colon) intact. Whilst it isn’t feeding us so to speak, it remains on the menu for our trillions of gut bacteria which is great news (more on this later).
So why do we need fiber?
When it comes to health, fat and sugar are always grabbing the national headlines but fiber is rarely front page news. With less press, perhaps you’re confused as to why we need fiber in our diet. After all, if we don’t digest it, how can it benefit us?
It works in different ways to look after our bowel and overall health. Let’s take a deeper dive into the two types and functions of fiber to help us.
Soluble & insoluble fiber
Fiber can either dissolve in water (soluble) or can’t (insoluble) and these different characteristics help our guts to get grooving. Soluble fiber softens our poo whilst insoluble fiber increases the bulk of it. Working together they keep our bowels healthy by moving things along quickly, helping us ‘go’ more often and prevent constipation. This is a key function of fiber and a super important reason to include lots of it in our diets!
What does fiber do apart from keeping our bowels moving?
We have looked at what fiber is but what else can it help with? Whilst we aren’t the ones breaking it down, the trillions of bacteria and other microbes in our guts feast on fiber – a process known as fermentation. The same process that turns cabbage into sauerkraut or grapes into wine!
As the fiber is broken down, it produces awesome nutrients such as helpful fatty acids and vitamin K. These nutrients protect our gut wall, improve our immune system, defend us from infections and keep bad bacteria at bay. How very clever, Genius you could say…
Are there any other long term benefits of fiber?
Absolutely! As if feeding our good bacteria wasn’t enough, eating a gut lovin’ diet full of fiber has loads of benefits according to the World Health Organisation1. It reduces the risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and type 2 diabetes. Fiber has also been shown to help keep weight under control and lower cholesterol levels.
What is the fuss about prebiotic fibers?
Some fibers are more fermentable than others – in other words there are certain types of fiber that bacteria prefer to eat. These are known as prebiotic fibers. Prebiotics support our healthy bacteria (pro-biotics) to thrive, both in amount and type. Just like a well-fertilized lawn grows green and thick, we want our helpful gut bacteria to do the same by feeding them the right stuff.
That’s why here at Genius we’ve ensured our recipes are not only high in fiber but have a portion of prebiotic fiber too. Your gut bacteria will love you for it.
Convinced about fiber? Then why not check out our Gut Lovin’ range – like the Joy Full Artisan Loaf.