Health spotlight: fibre and your gut
Our health editor and qualified nutritionist highlights the benefits of fibre and how to get it through a nourishing diet and lifestyle habits
Want to improve your gut health? In our spotlight series, health editor and registered nutritionist Tracey Raye highlights top health trends to bring you simple, nourishing ways to include more of the good stuff in your daily life. Looking for more nourishing inspiration? Check out our gut-healthy breakfast and more gut-friendly recipes, then explore our special gut health podcast series. For another way to aid your digestion, see our list of high fibre foods. Find out what to eat this Christmas for a happy gut.
How does fibre benefit your gut health?
Did you know that fibre is more than just a digestive aid that can provide relief from constipation? Fibre is also the food of choice for beneficial bacteria in the gut.
Studies suggest that fibre:
- Feeds the beneficial bacteria in your gut, including those responsible for maintaining healthy weight, blood sugar balance, immune function and brain health.
- Can support weight loss – especially certain soluble fibres by helping you to feel satisfied, keeping you fuller for longer after a meal.
- Minimises spikes in blood sugar after a meal.
- Can reduce cholesterol levels.
- Supports the formation of healthy bowel movements, improving constipation.
Fibre in your diet
With so much research coming to light about the power of gut microbes, I try to be mindful of the little things I can do throughout the week to support my gut health. One of the practices I’ve really been enjoying is experimenting with different fermented foods. While once a bit of a mystery to my palate, I’ve found that following recipes which creatively include items like kefir, kimchi, pickles and sauerkraut have really helped me to develop my taste for these healthful foods.
I recently stepped out of my comfort zone with this lacto-fermented carrots with grain salad and I’m so glad that I did. It’s crunchy and fresh, with a satisfying earthiness from the mixed grains and a subtle sharpness from the fermented carrots.
Three more ways with fibre:
- Sip on this kiwi smoothie for a fibre-rich beverage.
- Level up beans on toast with this twist on the classic using ezme paste and butter beans.
- Serve your main on a bed of greens like this lime and pistachio salmon.
Fibre in your lifestyle
Let’s keep it real – we’re not always in a place where we can feast on gut-loving, pickle-loaded salads. Sometimes grabbing something to quell our hunger between meetings is the best we can do.
For those days, I’ve been leaning on these high-fibre bars from The Gut Stuff. They may not be a replacement for a veggie-rich meal, but they do provide a third of your daily fibre – not bad for an on-the-go snack.
Fibre-rich snacks we love:
- The Gut Stuff high-fibre bars, £15/12 bars, Amazon
- Love Corn premium crunchy corn snack, £2/115g, Waitrose
- Happy Inside gut-friendly drinks, £21.99/12 cans, Amazon
- Boundless activated chips, £18.50/10 packs, Amazon
Are you aware of how much fibre you consume? How do you include it in your diet? Healthy meals, high-fibre snacks, supplements? Comment below and share your experience...
Tracey Raye is the health editor for olive and BBC Good Food. Tracey, MSc, is a registered nutritionist, holding a master’s degree in personalised nutrition. She is passionate about harnessing the power of all things health and wellbeing – in a way that enhances, rather than limits our lives. She covers our nourishing recipes and collections, oversees our health strategy and stays adrift of the latest health and lifestyle trends – in order to bring you the tools and inspiration you need to find what health means for you.
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Tracey Raye is the Health Editor for Olive and BBC Good Food. She oversees all health, nutrition and fitness related content across the brands, including the bi-annual Healthy Diet Plan, monthly Health Edit newsletter and health column in the magazine.