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Is Your Gut Eating Itself? Eat More Fibre.

The topic of fibre may sound a little dull but I assure you it's an integral part of having healthy digestion and I'm not just referring to daily bowel motions.

A lack of dietary fibre, can contribute to a condition called colonic mucosal atrophy.

Say what?

When the diet lacks sufficient fibre, the community of bugs that live in our gut and usually feed on fibre, can instead resort to consuming our gut lining. Yep, this means they literally eat into the protective mucus layer lining our colon, which leads to the "colonic mucosal atrophy".

When the mucous layer of our colon begins to atrophy or break down, it leaves us with a compromised gut barrier which means the colon walls are more vulnerable to inflammation, damage, and potential infections. This means IBS like symptoms, diarrhoea, pain, nausea, fatigue and undigested food in the stool.

Now that I have your attention, let's talk about the different types of fibre we should be including in our diet, every, single, day.

There Are Two Major Types of Fibre: Soluble & Insoluble.

Soluble Fibre.

These fibres are mucilaginous in nature which means they form a gel-like substance when it comes into contact with water. Mucilaginous foods are so great for digestion because

it swells up and becomes gelatinous and gooey which is anti-inflammatory to the mucous membranes of the digestive tract. This gelatinous texture also helps to slow down the digestion and absorption of nutrients, promoting a feeling of fullness and providing a gentle bulking effect in the intestines.

The foods with a rich mucilage content are:

  • Chia seeds (soaked)

  • Psyllium (soaked)

  • Flaxseed (soaked)

  • Aloe vera

  • Kelp

  • Okra

  • Figs

  • Agar agar

  • Cactus pads (nopales)

  • Fenugreek

  • Marshmallow root

  • Slippery elm

  • Licorice root

  • Plantain

  • Cassava

  • Natto

These foods are also prebiotic which means that they ferment in our colon (creating short-chain fatty acids) and in turn, become a food source for the good bacteria residing in our gut.

This reduces the population of harmful species of enterococci, enterobacteria, staphylococci, and clostridia and promotes regular bowel motions and also absorbs excess water in the bowel making it useful for both constipation and mild diarrhea. It also slows the absorption of sugar from a meal improving energy and blood sugar. It binds to toxins and cholesterol dragging them from the body.

Insoluble Fibre

Insoluble fibre is considered ‘roughage’ as it's more resistant to digestion and helps prevent constipation by producing more bulky stools and speeding bowel transit time. This type of fibre also gets fermented by bacteria in the colon and produces special fatty acids beneficial to the health of our gut. Insoluble fibre protects against constipation, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.

Whole grains, the skins of fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, hemp, and dried beans are all great sources of insoluble fibre.

Simple Ways To Boost Your Fibre Intake

Here are some simple, quick ways to include fibre into your day.

  • Add 1 heaped tsp of chia seed to your water bottle.

  • Make a homemade trail mix

  • Add a cup of legumes to soups, casseroles or salads

  • Skip refined grains and opt for whole grains instead. Choose sourdough or paleo breads, brown/red/black or wild rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet, oats, spelt, and kamut.

  • Add 1 tbsp of LSA (linseed, sunflower, almond meal) to your smoothie, cereal or salads.

  • Keep the skins on your fruits and veggies.

  • Try making homemade baked beans.

But wait, here are a couple of important remembers.

  • If your soluble fibre intake is high then your water intake needs to be also. Otherwise, the fibre attracts water, and swells but has nowhere to go. Hello, constipation.

  • Large amounts of psyllium and bran can bind to essential minerals so be aware of how much you take. Ideally have away from supplements or big meals,

  • Some people with sensitive digestive functions may find psyllium husk too harsh on their digestion. If so, opt for chia instead.

  • If you use Metamucil, have a ready of the ingredients list. If you'd like something more pure go for straight psyllium which is the base of Metamucil anyway.

  • Increase fibre in the diet slowly to avoid gas or cramping.

If you are struggling with digestive issues, connect with us in the Kiyah Clinic for 1:1 professional guidance and support with the 'Heal Your Gut' package.


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