Are you getting enough fibre in your diet?
A recent poll of US vitamin consumers revealed that more than 38 percent would be very likely to try a prebiotic with strong digestive and immune health benefits, if the product were science-validated by a research conducted at and published by a major university. Here in Australia the CSIRO has been researching the effects of probiotics and prebiotics for years, but are we yet as consumers to really understand the mechanism of prebiotics and probiotics.
In the US survey, it was revealed that 44 percent of these consumers had tried a probiotic supplement and more than half of those consumers reported they would be interested in buying a product that contained a prebiotic, which reflects the US’ better understanding of the role of digestive and immune systems.
Mark Thurston, an industry leader in the US vitamin and healthy foods market said, “People are most familiar with probiotics which are beneficial bacteria that can be found in a variety of food, including yoghurt, sauerkraut, kefir and Jerusalem artichokes that aid in digestive health. Consumers are less familiar with prebiotics, a special form of dietary fibre that is found naturally in garlic, onions, artichokes and corn cob. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics believes, ‘Ultimately, prebiotics (‘good’ bacteria promoters) and probiotics (‘good’ bacteria) work together synergistically. In other words, prebiotics are breakfast, lunch and dinner for probiotics, which restores and can improve GI health.’
In Australia, the Dieticians Association recommends we consume 25-30g of fibre every day, but what we often fail to understand is the different types of fibre and what their unique benefits are.
Generally we know that fibre helps keep our digestive system healthy, when combined with a healthy active lifestyle and a balanced diet, fibre can reduce the risk of constipation, haemorrhoids and bowel cancer. But, which fibre do you need?
Insoluble fibre helps keep you regular and you get this type of fibre from whole grain foods, the skins of fruits and vegetables and some legumes. So insoluble fibre can help prevent constipation, and possibly reduce the frequency of use of laxatives for some individuals. Soluble fibre found in foods including fruit, oats and lentils, helps slow the digestion process which can make you feel fuller for longer – this is why fibre can assist in weight-loss. The feeling of fullness means we can be less inclined to snack or consume larger than required portions of food. The Dieticians Association of Australia also recognises insoluble fibre can help stabilise blood glucose in diagnosed diabetics, and can assist in lowering cholesterol.
If you’re looking at how to improve your digestive health, understanding how much fibre you’re getting daily is a good start. Look at how your daily eating habits include the different types of fibre, and if you’re not sure you’re getting enough, a prebiotic fibre powder added to your diet can boost your daily intake of fibre, helping you get the health benefits you want. As always it’s really important you speak with your doctor or healthcare provider to get the best advice for you – and enjoy discovering how better health can feel!