If you’ve ever felt bloated or heard your stomach making loud gurgling noises, someone may have suggested increasing your dietary fibre.
But have you really understood why?
With the help of Registered Nutritionist Sarah Gray, we answer those important questions you may have felt too awkward to ask, such as:
We’ve also got some simple suggestions to help you work out which food and fibre options are easiest to add to your meals.
“The good thing about fibre,” explains Sarah, “is that it’s a natural detoxifier and helps to remove waste from your body.” Made from the indigestible parts of plant-based foods, the two main types of fibre work in different ways to help your gut function properly:
There are two main types of fibre which work in different ways to help your gut function properly.
Fibre has a few ways to keep you healthy on the inside so you can shine on the outside-
The types of poop you produce is a good way of knowing if your fibre efforts are working, so remember to have a look during your next visit to the loo.
“If you’re eating a healthy, well-balanced diet with different fruit groups, then you're going to get enough fibre from fruit, veggies, whole grains and legumes.” says Sarah.
Sarah assures us it’s not necessary to know how to calculate fibre content in food.
“If you’re eating a healthy, well-balanced diet with different fruit groups, then you're going to get enough fibre from fruit, veggies, whole grains and legumes.”
To help you along, Sarah recommends checking out this handy fibre fact sheet, which lists some high-fibre foods in Australia.
But if you aren’t sure how much is enough, or you’re taking a fibre supplement, check in with your health professional. They’ll let you know if you’re doing the right thing.
When buying pasta or bread, look for wholegrain or wholemeal versions.
Including high-in-fibre foods into your meals doesn’t have to be complicated:
Potatoes are good for gut health too. Potato fibre is called resistant starch, but it acts in a very similar way to normal fibre. So, your mash or roast is doing more good than you thought. You can also whip up a potato salad to boost your gut health - cooking and cooling potatoes before eating them increases the level of resistant starch, which in turn helps your gut health.
Potato fibre is called resistant starch, but it acts in a very similar way to normal fibre.
When planning your meals for the week, it’s good to include a variety of foods to help you cover your fibre needs. Many fibre-licious options are also foods that help improve gut health, so you can get your gut glowing in no time.
Sarah Gray is both a Registered Pharmacist and Registered Nutritionist with a particular interest in health education and helping people to take small steps to big changes in their health journey. Sarah is a member of the healthylife Advisory Board.
Reviewed by the healthylife Advisory Board May 2022.