Fibreis a hot topic whenever anyone is looking at becoming healthier.
Besides the obvious that it keeps your bowel movements regular which clears out waste and toxins from your body. And that most fibre rich foods also contain many vitamins and minerals essential for everyday cell activities within our body, why else is it important?
It feeds our gut microbiota!
Microbio what? What is that?
Tiny microorganisms that live in our gut, also known as gut flora.
Why do we need to feed these little creeps?
A low diversity of gut flora is strongly linked to many lifestyle diseases such as:
*inflammatory bowel disease
*arterial stiffness which can lead to cardiovascular disease
Low levels of gut flora come about from a westernised diet, low fibre, high sugar and foods high in preservatives.
Gut bacteria's role is to break down nutrients and protect us from unwelcome visitors.
So with low levels of gut bacteria, how are we meant to fight off nasty visitors?
In Tanzania there is a tribe called the the Hazda people. They eat from the land, no preservatives or packaged junk food. Their diet is full of game from the land, berries, fruit, root vegetables, as well as millet, teff and durra seed, pulses, herb and leafy vegetables.
They consume a predicted 100 to 150 grams of fibre a day!!!!!!!!
Which is 10 times the average western diet and 5 times the recommended intake from nutritional authorities!
In any ecosystem, as species fall the increase sensitivity of that ecosystem rises. Its important to retain as many of these different species of bacteria in our gut to retain an even balance so one does not over populate and dominate another.
The food we consume is a major factor in influencing our microbiome. Although other factors can change our microbiome as well including:
-even having a fetish with cleanliness!
Although all does not seem to be lost, even though you may lose some species from eating a westernised diet, it is believed you can get some of those species back. As the Hazda people eat from the land their microbiome changes with the season, during dryer seasons they eat more meat and their microbiome becomes more westernised, as the wet weather sets back in and more berries and honey are available the microbes that were missing when consuming more meat return. Therefore as you increase your fibre intake it is believed you can recreate a healthier microbiome once more.
Certain microbiota are also linked to lower levels of visceral fat.
When germ free mice were given christensenella it prevented them gaining weight.This particular microbiota is extremely rare in obese people. Long term weight gain in humans is linked to a low diversity of microbiota, a low diversity of microbiota is linked to a low fibre diet.
So when I assign you a fibre goal, it is a minimum goal, you can blow it out of the water if you like! :)
Studies have also been done on the link between microbiota and depression. Over 1000 Belgians microbiomes were looked at and what they found was 2 missing microbiota (coprococcus and dialister). These were missing from every single one of the 173 within that group who had been diagnosed with depression. Within the depressed group they also found an increase in bacteria that is linked to Crohn's disease suggesting inflammation plays a major part.
The same study was done on over 1000 Dutch, again the same to microbiota were missing from those diagnosed with depression, 7 within that group were diagnosed with severe clinical depression.
Whilst trying to find a link between microbiota and mood, they studied 56 different substances that gut microbiota either produce or breakdown and that also play a role in nervous system function. In doing this they found coprococcus is connected to dopamine (a chemical in your brain affecting pleasure and pain). Coprococcus also makes butyrate which is an anti-inflammatory substance again further suggesting inflammation may play a vital role in depression.
So my suggestion... Fibre Fibre Fibre, get it into you!
Fibre rich foods are REAL FOODS, full of nutrients with anti-inflammatory properties; so nourish your body with a lot of fibre to:
a/ avoid lifestyle diseases
b/ reduce body fat
c/ protect your mental health
as well as
d/ optimum gym performance
e/ a healthy digestive system
f/ overall healthy body inside and out!
Hope you enjoyed the read
Happy Food by Niklas Ekstedt and Henrik Ennart