Fibre is an extremely important part of the diet and its one most people overlook. We focus on the amounts of protein, carbohydrates and fat we eat yet fibre is often overlooked. Not good. It’s an essential agent for digestive performance and gut health. If you don’t think it’s that important think again. We are what we absorb, if our digestive system isn’t firing on all cylinders how can we possibly utilise the protein, carbs and fats we are ingesting? We can’t, simply put. Arguably then it is fibre that should be the top of your list.
We have two types of fibre, soluble and insoluble – this simply refers to whether or not they dissolve in water or not. They have different roles and are equally as important in their own right. Today we can delve into this topic a little more.
Soluble fibre comes from the likes of oats, grains and bran. It forms a ‘gel’ like consistency in the gut and slows down the digestion process. With that said it can be great for increasing satiety, insulin sensitivity and ideal for certain times of the day where fast digestion isn’t needed. However having too much of soluble fibre can cause constipation!
As usual there’s a balance to be had.
Insoluble fibre works in the opposite way. It speeds up the digestive process which is vital in keeping you regular and sustaining gut health. We get this form of fibre from foods such as green leafy vegetables, cabbage, broccoli, cucumber, carrots and root vegetables like sweet potato.
Clearly then there is a call for both forms of fibre. Having slightly more of your fibre from insoluble sources would be my advice – so that’s lots of greens on your plate with the inclusion of some sweet potato. Oats, grains and blueberries can be used to get some soluble fibre in to maintain balance.
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How much fibre should you consume a day? It depends, in theory the more calories you eat the more you would need. However I think a minimum of 30g a day and as much as 60g is about right for your average man who trains. Ladies would be typically at the lower end of that scale.
In reality, loading your diet with green vegetables, sweet potato & using PhD Greens pH-7 here and there will cover you. Getting the basics right will do a lot for your progress. Hitting your fibre requirements is certainly one of those!