Fibre is the name given to the indigestible parts of plant foods.
Unlike fats, proteins and carbohydrates, fibre isn’t absorbed by your body. Fibre passes relatively intact through your stomach and small intestine through to the large intestine where it is fermented by friendly bacteria. Then along with other waste products is moved out of the body.
Although it is best known for relieving constipation, fibre has a host of health benefits. For example, getting enough fibre can help you maintain a healthy weight range, lower blood cholesterol and support heart health and bowel health.
Fibre: How it works
Fibre is made up of many glucose molecules and is part of plant foods that your body can’t digest or absorb. It is also referred to as “an indigestible carbohydrate”, but fibre is very different from other carbohydrates and much lower in calories. Eating fibre increases the immune system in your gut, feeds the good probiotic bacteria there, keeps the digestive lining healthy and absorbs and pulls out excess hormones, cholesterol, fat and toxins from the body. It also helps us digest and pass the foods we eat. By increasing our fibre intake, we decrease the risks of common diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity.
There are two types of dietary fibre, and you need both – insoluble and soluble.
FIBRE can be soluble and insoluble and most plant foods contain both types. For the best health benefits, opt for a wide range of high-fibre foods.
This type of fibre acts like a sponge. It mops up harmful LDL-cholesterol, the type of cholesterol which is deposited in the cells and in arteries, narrowing blood flow and triggering conditions such as heart disease and stroke. It prevents cholesterol from being reabsorbed into the bloodstream. This lowers the amount of cholesterol in the blood. Studies also have shown that fibre may have other heart-health benefits.
In the intestines, soluble fibre forms a gel, slowing down digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. This helps to keep blood glucose levels steady, helping to prevent carb cravings that might send you running to sugary snacks. It also slows down the rate at which your stomach empties, so you’ll feel fuller for longer, too.
Find soluble fibre in:
- Vegetables and fruits
- Beans and lentils
Inulin is a natural prebiotic – it provides foods for the beneficial bacteria in the large intestine. This helps to keep your digestive system healthy.
Find inulin in:
- Onions and shallots
- Peas, beans and lentils
Insoluble fibre is filling but not fattening. That’s because high fibre foods take time to chew which slows down your eating, helping to prevent overeating. And, because it is bulky and absorbs waters this kind of fibre softens the contents of the large intestine speeding the removal of waste products. Getting enough fluids is very important for digestive health and when you start to increase your intake of fibre-containing foods. This fibre-water combo can help if you struggle with constipation. And, because insoluble fibre reduces the time that waste matter and potential carcinogens take to come into contact with the intestine, it may even help to prevent conditions such as bowel cancer.
Find insoluble fibre in:
High fibre breads (look for heavy breads with whole grains)
- High fibre cereals
- Nuts and seeds
- The skin of fruits and vegetables.
The switch to eating more refined foods means that we are consuming less fibre. That’s because the refining process, strips grains and cereals of their outer coat (the bran) where most B vitamins and iron are concentrated. The same thing happens when you peel the skin from fruits and vegetables. High-fibre foods are good for your health. But if you’re not used to a high fibre diet, make sure to go slow. Adding too much fibre too quickly can trigger bloating and gas. So, increase intake gradually over a number of weeks. This way, the natural bacteria in your digestive system has time to adjust to the changes you’re making. Also drink plenty of water.
The newest type of fibre discovered by scientists is resistant starch. Just as the name suggests, this kind of starch resists digestion (starches and other carbohydrates are digested in the small intestine by enzymes).
Resistant starch enters the large intestine where many beneficial microorganisms live and these friendly bacteria use the starch as food. This helps to keep the lining of the large intestine (also known as the bowel) healthy,
You’ll find resistant starch in foods such as:
- Cooked and cooled potato
- Pasta cooked al dente (with bite)
- Slightly under ripe bananas
Ways to BOOST your fibre intake
Choose bread made from flour that has been ground from the wholegrain and includes the outer husk which is rich in fibre) and the wheat germ (which is rich in B vitamins).
Choose breads with visible seeds such as pumpkin, sunflower, poppy and linseeds for extra fibre and vitamins, including vitamin E.
Bread with added soy and linseeds may help with symptoms of menopause.
How much is TOO MUCH?
It’s important to increase your fibre intake slowly, as a sudden switch can lead to abdominal pain and flatulence. What’s more, very high-fibre diets (over 40g a day) have been linked with decreased absorption of minerals such as iron, zinc and calcium.
Fibre and WEIGHT-LOSS
Carbs have been a dirty word since the popularity of low carb weight-loss programs such as the Atkins and South Beach diet grabbed headlines. And, it’s true that increasing protein can be a satisfying way to cut the calories. But, it’s just not healthy to cut out a whole food group. Wholegrain carbohydrates are very nutritious and provide minerals as well as fibre. And, getting enough fibre can help you control your weight. That’s because high fibre foods slow down the rate at which you eat because they require more chewing. So, mealtimes last longer. High fibre foods also tend to have less calories, another way that high-fibre eating helps you to stay trim.
Fibre works by helping you moderate how much you eat by absorbing water in the mouth. As the food-fibre-water mix enters the stomach, its bulk causes the stomach walls to become stretched. This triggers feelings of fullness, helping you feel more satisfied for longer so you’re less likely to reach for unhealthy between-meal snacks.
If you take Nutrimeal™ whether for weight management or even to ensure that you get a fast, healthy meal, try adding extra fibre in the form of Fibergy Plus to make it even more satisfying.
Although it lingers longer in the stomach helping you feel full, fibre moves faster in the intestines. By the time the fibre mix enters the large intestine, the nutrients have been absorbed and there are only waste products, fibre and water left. Because it stimulates contractions of the large intestine, there is less time for the waste products to come into contact with the intestines and in this way, it may help to reduce the risk of bowel cancer, too. By speeding this mass out of the body, fibre also helps to prevent problems such as constipation and haemorrhoids (piles).
Fibre adds bulk making it is easier for waste to pass out of the body. But, if you have loose, watery stools, fibre may actually help to solidify the waste by absorbing water and adding bulk to it.
- Nuts and seeds
- The skin of fruits and vegetables.
WHY USANA FIBERGY™ PLUS?
According to the Dietitians Associations of Australia, adults should aim for at least 30g fibre each day. But most of us fall short by about 10g and only manage around 20g fibre each day. Just one tablespoon of FibergyTM Plus can help bridge the gap and provide the fibre your body needs. Children need fibre too. But much less – aim for around 10g of fibre a day, plus an additional gram each year of age.
The fibre in FibergyTM Plus comes from a number of sources because different types of fibre bring different health benefits. This includes psyllium – a dietary fibre that helps stimulate normal bowel regularity and inulin, to promote growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.
USANA Fibergy Plus helps promotes good digestive health and normal bowel regularity, which moves wastes and toxins out of the colon. The high fibre, low-GI formula leaves you feeling satisfied, making it easier to skip unhealthy snacks throughout the day.
USANA Fibergy Plus is a flavourless fibre blend which provides 12 grams of soluble and insoluble fibre in each serving – that’s more than twice the amount of other fibre products available in the market! It is formulated using natural ingredients and without added gluten, soy or dairy.* 28 serves per pack.
- Promotes good digestive health
- Contains psyllium, which promotes regularity, a rich source of soluble fibre and a bulking agent. Each serving provides 4g of psyllium.
- Inulin found in FibergyTM Plus promotes the stimulation of healthy bacteria in the digestive system that assists in the absorption of nutrients and the breakdown of foods.
- Contains the prebiotic inulin which promotes the growth of bifidobacteria in the digestive tract. A serving supplies 3 grams of inulin
- Formulated without gluten, dairy and soy*
- Natural source of dietary fibre
TO USE, mix 1 level tablespoon (14g) into 290-340ml of water; or stir two heaped teaspoons (approx. 7g) with USANA Nutrimeal™. For best results, mix in a BlenderBottle™ for 45 seconds. ENJOY IMMEDIATELY!