Why else is fibre good for you?
Posted on November 18 2020
Fibre does a lot more than just help with digestion, and the chances are you’re not getting enough of it. Fibre can often be overlooked in favour of high protein diets. However, over the last decade research has found that eating more fibre can benefit your health in many ways.
Yes, really. Fibre adds bulk to your meal that makes you feel full. Fibre can also stop sugar cravings by slowing down the rate that food is digested and glucose absorbed. This helps to stop spikes in blood sugar levels, keeping your energy up and cravings at bay. Fibre also helps to maintain a good balance of bacteria in your gut, which in turn is linked to lower long-term weight gain.
Beta-glucan is a form of fibre that’s strongly linked to lowering cholesterol levels and boosting heart health. Beta-glucan fibres include whole grains, pears and plums. It’s a good idea to include more of these in your daily diet if you have high cholesterol or need to protect your heart health.
While this may seem an unlikely link, a body of research over the last 10 years supports the link between high-fibre foods and good mental health. Your gut “talks” to your brain, continually sending signals via the nervous system.1 If there’s an imbalance of bacteria or hormones in your gut, this can manifest itself as low mood or higher stress levels in your brain. This may be because a fibre-rich diet can increase the number of good bacteria and serotonin in your gut.2
A study also found that a resistant starch found in some types of high-fibre foods such as lentils, beans and green bananas, led to lower levels of the stress-causing hormone cortisol.3
Reduce the risk of chronic illness
Many studies have linked a high-fibre diet with a reduced risk of several significant chronic diseases. One of the most prevalent is bowel cancer, with studies suggesting that increasing your daily intake of fibre can reduce the risk of developing bowel cancers by as much as 20%.4 Getting enough fibre can also prevent diabetes by helping to control blood sugar levels, and lower the risk of heart disease by keeping cholesterol down.
What to remember
Fibre has a range of health benefits and plays an important role in a balanced diet. Not only is it good for digestion, but it also increases the amount of good bacteria in your gut, lowers cholesterol and can help prevent chronic illness. If you are aiming for a healthy diet and lifestyle, you should make sure to get a variety of fibre from different types of whole foods, fruits, vegetables and grains.