Why Dietary Fibre is Vital for Your Health: Exploring 5 Key Benefits

Why Dietary Fibre is Vital for Your Health: Exploring 5 Key Benefits

Dietary fibre, also known as 'fibre', 'roughage' or 'bulk', refers to the indigestible parts of plant foods that pass relatively unchanged through our digestive system.

While fibre does not provide any nutrients or calories (although it is often found in foods that do have calories), dietary fibre plays a crucial role and is vital in maintaining good health. It is considered an essential component of a balanced diet, and is in fact a life-saving superfood!

91% of people in the UK aren't eating enough dietary fibre

Most shocking is the fact that a whopping 91% of people in the UK aren't eating enough fibre in their diets!  The daily intake of fibre needed to see health benefits is 30g, however, the average intake is just 19g! (1)

In this blog we will be exploring 5 key health benefits of dietary fibre, as well as:

  • Fibre - what do people really think?
  • Soluble & insoluble fibre - health benefits, sources and digestion
  • Why dietary fibre is vital for your health: exploring 5 key benefits
  • An easy way to boost your fibre (& prebiotic fibre!) intake
  • Summary

When you hear the word 'fibre', what's your first thought?

dietary fibre vital for health benefits

When we asked this same question to people regarding what foods or words spring to mind when they hear the word 'fibre', the results were:

  • Brown
  • Bland
  • Boring
  • Blah
  • Healthy
  • Constipation
  • Heavy
  • Brown bread
  • Bran flakes
  • Weetabix

Interestingly, not one person has ever named a vegetable or fruit higher in fibre!

In fact, there are two types of fibre - soluble and insoluble! So, what's the difference?

soluble and insoluble fibre

Soluble fibre:

  • Dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance
  • Binds with certain substances, such as cholesterol and glucose in the digestive tract

Sources of soluble fibre include:

Oats, barley, legumes, apples, oranges, berries, carrots , Brussels sprouts, chicory root and psyllium husk are good sources of soluble fibre.

Digestion:

Soluble fiber is fermented by the beneficial bacteria in the colon, producing short-chain fatty acids that provide energy and nourishment for the cells lining the colon.

Health benefits of soluble fibre:

  • Lowering cholesterol levels: It helps reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol by binding to bile acids in the intestines, which are then excreted from the body
  • Regulating blood sugar: Soluble fibre slows down the absorption of glucose, helping to stabilise blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity
  • Promoting satiety: It helps you feel full for longer, aiding in appetite control and weight management
  • Constipation: Soluble prebiotic chicory root can aid in constipation.

fruits and vegetables source of dietary fibre

Insoluble fibre:

  • Does not dissolve in water
    • It retains its structure throughout the digestive process

Sources of insoluble fibre:

Whole grains (such as wheat bran, brown rice), nuts, seeds, the skin of fruits and vegetables, and the stalks of leafy greens are good sources of insoluble fibre.

 Digestion:

Insoluble fiber adds bulk to the stool and speeds up the movement of food through the digestive system. It helps prevent constipation by promoting regular bowel movements. 

Health benefits of insoluble fibre:

  • Promoting bowel regularity: It adds bulk to the stool, softens it, and facilitates its passage through the intestines, reducing the risk of constipation and promoting regularity.
  • Supporting gut health: Insoluble fiber acts as a "prebiotic" by providing nourishment for beneficial gut bacteria, contributing to a healthy gut microbiome.

 5 key health benefits of dietary fibre

5 key health benefits dietary fibre

Subject to much shock for many, dietary fibre goes far beyond constipation, and is a proven life-saving superfood that supports a range of health benefits.

As mentioned above, 91% of people in the UK aren't getting enough fibre in their diets!  And because of this, it is significantly affecting our health.

Fibre - a life-saving superfood!

According to an analysis of 185 studies and 58 clinical trials published in The Lancet Medical Journal(2) suggested if you moved 1,000 people from a low-fibre diet (less than 15g) to a high-fibre diet (25-29g), then it would prevent:

  • 13 deaths
  • Six cases of heart disease

During the course of these studies, which followed people for one to two decades. This analysis also showed lower levels of type-2 diabetes, and bowel cancer, as well as lower weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

Let's explore just 5 of the key benefits dietary fibre offers and why it's vital for your health below:

1. Digestive health

why dietary fibre is important digestive health

Fibre promotes healthy digestion by adding bulk to the stool, making it easier to pass through the intestines. It helps prevent constipation and promotes regular bowel movements, reducing the risk of conditions like hemorrhoids, diverticulosis, and colorectal cancer.

According to the NHS, 1 in 3 kids and 1 in 7 adults struggle with constipation in the UK at any one time.(3)

For more information about constipation in kids and tips that can help, click here.

Ps. 71% of 28 people drinking one bottle of ió fibrewater daily for 12 days experienced improvements in their digestive health, such as bloating, eating foods they had intolerances with such as dairy and gluten and improvements with increased bowel movements.

Read honest fibrewater reviews from real people to find out what people are really saying about their positive health experiences.

 2.  Weight management

fibre weight management

High-fibre foods are generally more filling, which can help control appetite and prevent overeating.

Fibre-rich foods tend to be lower in calories, and they take longer to chew and digest, promoting a feeling of fullness and reducing the likelihood of excessive calorie consumption.

Prebiotic fibre takes dietary fibre to the next level regarding weight management! Not only does it help keep you feeling fuller for longer, it actually helps to switch the hunger hormones off and the satiated hormones on!

Research on drinking one bottle of ió fibrewater daily found that 68% of people didn't need to eat as much at mealtime. 61% of participants also snacked less and felt more satiated, too. Find out more about this research here.

You can also read more about prebiotic fibre (a special type of fibre that feeds healthy gut bacteria) and weight loss here.

 3.  Blood sugar control

fibre blood sugar control health benefits

Soluble fibre, found in foods like oats, beans, and fruits, can help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of glucose. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those at risk of developing the condition.

 4.  Heart health

 fibre heart health

A high-fibre diet has been associated with a lower risk of heart disease. Soluble fibre helps lower cholesterol levels by binding to dietary cholesterol and preventing its absorption into the bloodstream. Additionally, fiber may help regulate blood pressure and reduce inflammation.(4)

5. Healthy gut bacteria

prebiotic fibre healthy gut bacteria

In addition to dietary fibre being soluble or insoluble, specific types of fibre are prebiotic, and provide nourishment for beneficial gut bacteria (aka probiotics).

These bacteria play a vital role in maintaining a healthy gut microbiome, which is associated with improved digestion, immune function, and overall well-being.

The best source of prebiotic fibre is chicory root fibre!

io fibrewater glasgow caledonian university study

BTW, I jus thought I would mention that  fibrewater is scientifically proven to increase healthy gut bacteria significantly within 48 hours compared to regular flavoured water and was nominated for the prestigious Innovation of the Year Award for this exciting collaborative study with Glasgow Caledonian University. (5),(6)

5. Disease prevention

dietary fibre disease prevention

Adequate fibre intake has been linked to a reduced risk of various chronic diseases.

Studies have found that the higher people's diets are, the lower the risk of disease, including type 2 diabetes, obesity, certain types of cancer (such as colorectal cancer), and cardiovascular disease. (2)

An easy way to boost dietary and prebiotic fibre intake...

ió fibrewater is made with chicory root fibre and delivers 100% of your daily prebiotic fibre intake in just one bottle! (Plus 20% of your daily dietary fibre intake, too!).

buy io fibrewater

It's made with only naturally sourced ingredients, with no added sugar and is just 17 kcals per bottle. It's also approved by the Vegan Society, and is gluten-free and keto-friendly. 

 Summary

With 91% of people in the UK not getting enough fibre in their diets, and links to a wide range of health benefits (that go far beyond constipation!), there is no doubt that dietary fibre is vital for health.

Hopefully, exploring the 5 key health benefits of dietary fibre in this blog has helped to show the importance of fibre - and that there is an easy way to boost your prebiotic fibre intake easily and enjoyably with ió fibrewater.

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 1 -National Diet & Nutrition Survey, Public Health England, Food Standards Agency 2018/2019 

2 - Carbohydrate quality and human health: a series of systematic reviews and meta-analyses, The Lancet, January 10, 2019

3- Constipation, NHS Scot Inform website

4 -Dietary fibre intake and risk of cardiovascular disease: systematic review and meta-analysis, the BMJ 2013

5- GCU food scientists drink in success, Nov 14, 2022

6 - Finalists for the Scottish Knowledge Exchange Awards 2023

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