Dr Jacqui Fleury, ND appeared on Global TV this morning to discuss the impact of fibre on our moods.
What Is Dietary Fibre?
Put simply, dietary fibre is a non-digestible carbohydrate found in foods. It’s split into two broad categories based on its water solubility:
Soluble fibre dissolves in water and can be metabolized by the “good” bacteria in the gut.
It turns into a gel-like substance in your gut. Examples are ground flaxseed, and psyllium.
Insoluble fibre: Does not dissolve in water. Is carried through the digestive tract undigested. Fruits and veggies fall into this category.
Fibre comes into play in our large intestine. When we eat fats, carbohydrates and proteins, they are all digested and absorbed before they get to the colon. It’s the fibre in our diets that carry on through to the colon, where “half of us” is waiting to be fed yet!
Fiber has 6 main roles in our body, including:
- Helping with weight loss – fibre makes us feel full so we eat less
- Lowering blood sugar spikes by causing slower absorption of sugars into our bloodstream
- Helping with constipation by increasing the bulk of our stools and cleaning out the colon
- Lowering cholesterol
- Reducing risk of colon cancer – fibre feeds the friendly bacteria producing short-chain fatty acids like acetate, propionate, and butyrate, of which butyrate appears to be the most important
- Feeding the bacteria in our gut
We have 6-8 pounds of bacteria in our colon, and fibre is what feeds this bacteria. And the reason it is so important to feed this bacteria is because they comprise over half of the DNA in our body. This essentially means we are half human and half bacteria! So this bacteria has a big impact on everything from our immunity to our hormones and how well our brains work.
As it relates to our moods, fibre feeds the microbiome in our gut. When we feed this bacteria, it has a positive effect on the way we handle stress and overwhelm because when our microbiome is happy, they produce chemicals that affect our moods.
We should eat around 30 grams of fibre per day.
Most people are only getting about half this amount! How do we get this much fiber a day? And what if we are trying to cut the carbs down in our diets?
Here are some of the best options:
Ground flaxseed, chia seeds, hemp hearts
Coconut Flour, Almond Flour
Quick fixes – commercial fibre formulas added to coffee or stirred in a glass of water or eaten like a pudding or mixed into energy balls. You can also add Nutracleanse or Inner Fuel to your coffee.
And who knew…
Dark chocolate contains about 10% fibre!
But to keep it healthful, look for a high cocoa content in the 75% to 95% range.
So the key takeaway here is give your gut the right fibres and you’re more likely to have a gut and a brain that is healthier and happier!