This post was sponsored by Nestle Health Science.
We all know that we’re supposed to eat healthy. It’s been drilled into our heads a thousand times. Often, people associate eating healthy with weight loss and management. And while this does help, It isn’t often top of mind that what you eat has a direct correlation with preventing the onset of disease. Regulating your diet can also help lessen the symptoms and severity of disease.
But how and why? The answer is: your microbiome.
Your microbiome is made up of trillions of tiny microbes that work hard everyday to keep you healthy. When you have a healthy microbiome, scientists have determined that they can help prevent diseases, improve your mental health and much much more. The microbes in your gut can even alter your appetite. It has been shown that people who eat well and feed the good microbes crave less fatty and sugary foods than those who consistently eat poorly.
Since you obviously want to populate your microbiome with the good, hardworking bacteria, you need to make sure you’re feeding them the foods that they like. And surprise surprise, they love things like broccolli!
Your diet essentially dictates which microbes live and die, and modulating your diet to suit your microbiome is not an unmangeable task. Usually it just means implementing things like fibre, prebiotics and probiotics into your diet to help feed and cultivate your digestive community. However, a healthy diet is highly customizable, and will not be the same from person to person. What’s good for one person may not necessarily be beneficial for another. The best way to determine what diet is best for you is to work with your doctor and a dietician to find out which types of fibres are best for you. In this article, we’re going to talk a little bit about the different types of fibres and how they can help with different types of digestive symptoms.
Soluble fibres can be found in things like oat bran, barley, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, and peas.
They attract water that thickens throughout your digestion process. This helps bulk up your stools and can really aid in digestion if you suffer from both constipation or diarrhea. It creates a slippery solvent around your poop which both holds it together and helps you to pass it. It’s also a great tool to help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. There have even been some studies that show soluble fibres helping with heart health, as it attaches to cholesterol and takes those particles out with the rest of the trash!
Soluble fibres also help with protection against diabetes. Since the fibres cannot be naturally absorbed by your digestive system, they dont attribute to sugar spikes. If you already suffer from type 1 or type 2 diabetes, soluble fibres can also help you better control your blood sugar levels.
Insoluble fibres are great for people who suffer from constipation. They really help keep you regular and get things moving if you’re all ‘bunged up.’ Strangely enough, although it loosens stool, it’s also helpful for people who have trouble controlling their bowel movements. Insoluble fibres, much like their counterpart, help stave off hunger pangs and can play a significant role in helping people achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Insoluble fibres are found naturally in seeds and the skins of fruits.
Prebiotics are food for your microbes. Not all fibres are prebiotics, but all prebiotics are fibres. So when we’re talking about keeping that microbiome thriving, you want to make sure you’re getting enough of what’s called Inulin in your belly. Inulin is a soluble fibre that can help you defend yourself against a variety of diseases including influenza. This fibre helps reduce constipation, improves heart health, lowers metabolic syndrome risk factors, helps curb the appetite, and increases calcium intake. Sounds pretty good, huh? Inulin fibres can be found in things like: ground chicory root, dandelion root, asparagus, leeks and onions, bananas and garlic.
Unfortunately, most Canadians have low daily fibre intake. Health Canada recommends 25 grams of fibre per day for women and 38 grams of fibre per day for men which means most Canadians are only getting about half of their recommended fibre intake.
You can supplement these fibres with a supplement, if you’re having trouble reaching your daily goal. Most supplements are soluble fibres, but if you read the lables you can also find supplements that are Insoluble, and supplements that are Inulin based. For the latter we recommend Fibre Choice®, as it helps stimulate the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut and is clinically proven to provide gentle relief of constipation. Bonus! It is in a convenient chewable tablet that is easy to take with meals. No more mixing or grity aftertaste (yuck!). It’s important that you always talk to your doctor before taking a supplement and make sure that you’re taking the fibre that’s right for you! As we mentioned before, everyones diet is different and should be customized to fit their needs!