Fibre: the biggest nutrient deficiency in Western diets
Let’s be honest, fibre hasn’t always had the best PR. But it should, and here’s why:
- 90% of the UK population is deficient in fibre. In fact, the vast majority of us don’t even come close to the recommended daily intake of 25-29g per day.
- By increasing your daily fibre intake by just 8g, you could lower your risk of dying from any chronic disease by up to 27%.
So, by addressing this single deficiency, we could drastically improve the health of our nation. Now that’s food for thought.
So, what is fibre?
Fibre is the name given to complex carbohydrates that are found in all plant-based foods. Essentially, fibre gives plants their structure allowing them to form all the beautiful shapes we see in nature.
What does fibre do for humans?
Humans can’t digest fibre like they can other carbohydrates. Instead, fibre passes through our stomach and our small intestine unchanged, helping the digestive process on its way by stimulating the wave-like movement of our gut muscles to push food along. Once it enters the large intestine, fibre is broken down by the millions of tiny microbes in our gut, also known as the gut microbiome. They busily ferment the fibres to feed themselves and create very helpful chemicals called postbiotics as a by-product of the fermentation process.
What happens when we don’t eat enough fibre?
A lack of fibre has many negative effects on our health. Unsurprisingly, the digestive process will slow down which can lead to constipation, indigestion and bloating as common short-term symptoms. In the long-term, fibre deficiency can result in ulcers, inflammatory bowel diseases and even colon cancer, as well as making us feel sluggish and unwell.
Will fibre make me less hungry?
Absolutely, studies have shown that increasing fibre intake is associated with increased satiety and feelings of fullness. Fibre-rich foods slow down the speed at which we absorb sugars and fats from our foods, giving our bodies time to process and clear these foods from our blood stream. It also means we are less likely to eat more food than we need, as we will feel fuller for longer.
Which foods are highest in fibre?
Fruits, vegetables, pulses, nuts, seeds and whole grains.
Here’s a few tips to easily (and deliciously!) get more fibre in your diet:
1. Add Indi Body to your routine, which contains 5g of fibre per serving.
2. Add mixed seeds to smoothies, porridge or plain yoghurt. This will not only add fibre and protein to your day but also up your fibre diversity which is key for good health.
3. Snack on mixed nuts and seeds with fresh fruit.
4. Add lentils, beans and chickpeas to your menu every day.