Daily food choices can have lasting impact on your health
Dietitian & Nutritionist Bec Gawthorne says that thinking about fibre and how we can squeeze more of it into every meal should be one of our daily priorities. After all, dietary fibre helps contribute to a balanced gut microbiome and supports good health in general.
Why we’re not eating enough fibre
Gawthorne says that when it comes to gut health, fibre is key. The recommended intake of dietary fibre each day is 30g for men and 25g for women, with many of us falling short of this goal.
Busy lives can make it difficult to cook healthy food at home. With the temptation of rich, restaurant meals just a click away on our smart phones, Gawthorne says making good food choices all the time can be difficult.
When you’re ordering from your favourite restaurant, it’s hard to choose the salad, grain or bean dish when there’s something sweet, salty and tempting on offer.”
She says that most people don’t realise they are not consuming enough fibre and that the variety of fibre in their diets is also lacking.
We in fact need a balance of soluble fibre, insoluble fibre, viscous gel-forming and prebiotic fibre. Gawthorne explains the difference between each:
Soluble fibre is essential for collecting waste products and eliminating them from the body. Insufficient soluble fibre means toxins get reabsorbed in the intestines and recirculated through the body, which may cause health problems.
Insoluble fibre adds bulk to enable the removal of toxins and waste through the bowel. It also absorbs water to help soften our stools and support regular bowel movements.
Viscous gel-forming fibre promotes fullness and helps bowel lubrication. Prebiotic fibre feeds the friendly bacteria in your gut. Most prebiotic fibres are soluble, but some may also be insoluble fibres. Gawthorne says that we don’t just need quantity of fibre, we also need quality.
Small changes every day make a big difference
Gawthorne recommends starting with small choices every day to build healthy fibre habits. “If you're going to order a few dishes in, limit your meat dish to one, and make sure every other dish contains fruit, veggies, nuts, grains or beans.
“This way you won't feel like you’re missing out and your gut will also enjoy the benefit of more fibre from a number of different plant food sources.
“Similarly, when you cook at home, try to sneak in fibre-rich foods wherever you can. You’d be surprised by the number of savoury dishes that lentils and veggies like carrots and pumpkin complement!”
“Over time, this can add up to a lot more fibre consumption. Your palette is also likely to adjust and you should start to enjoy more high-fibre foods.”
Consider taking Nu-Lax's new Natural Multi-fibre if you struggle to get enough fibre into your diet, Gawthorne recommends a quality fibre supplement like Nu-Lax's new Natural Multi-fibre.
It can help with regularity and healthy bowel function as well as balancing microflora and overall gut health.
“Nu-Lax Natural Multi-fibre is great because its ingredients are natural and evidence-based. It has all functional dietary fibre types and there are no hidden nasties.
“Did I mention that it doesn’t have any added sugar but tastes delicious?” Gawthorne says she enjoys Multi-fibre powder in a glass of cold water or in a smoothie in the morning or as a sweet afternoon treat.
Can’t tolerate garlic or onion, no problem
Gawthorne says Nu-Lax Natural Multi-fibre is suitable for sensitive guts and is low FODMAP.
“People with FODMAP food sensitivities can struggle with prebiotic foods like garlic, onion and watermelon. Nu-Lax Natural Multi-fibre contains prebiotics and is certified FODMAP, so can help people who are finding it difficult to get enough fibre diversity in their diet.”
Gawthorne’s final say on water
Gawthorne is a big fan of always having water and a few pieces of fruit on hand so that incidental snacks and drinks during the day are healthy.
“Water aids digestion by helping to break down the food you eat and removes waste from your body. Starting your day with a large glass is a great idea,” she says. No matter how well you eat, Gawthorne says there’s almost always room for more fibre.
“Making small, incidental changes can have long-term, positive effects on your gut and general health. It’s just a case of reminding yourself about the importance of fibre every day.”