Did you know that you have trillions of bacteria in your gut? Well, it’s true, and they have a vital role in maintaining your health, reducing the risk and severity of mental illness, boosting your metabolism, and even reducing your chances of contracting certain cancers. How do we keep our gut bacteria happy, you ask?
Well, the answer is fibre!
Unfortunately, fibre has been much more challenging to come by recently. Studies show that our ancestors ate over 100g of soluble and insoluble fibre daily, while today, our daily fibre intake has decreased to a measly average of 15 grams a day!
This is because companies have begun to reduce the fibre content in the foods they sell to increase their profits at the cost of human health.
Keep reading to learn more about this fibre crisis.
What happens when we don’t get enough fibre?
Fibre is indigestible by the human body, but your gut bacteria need to eat, too! Fibre is a prebiotic. This means that our gut microbiome, consisting of trillions of gut bacteria of more than 30 000 species, uses fibre as fuel. Without a food source, your gut bacteria decrease in numbers and variety, taking a toll on your overall health.
When your gut bacteria are healthy and diverse, they help to control digestion and benefit your immune system. However, an imbalance of gut bacteria known as gut dysbiosis, leading to a combination of healthy and unhealthy microbes in the intestines, has been shown to contribute to:
- Weight gain
- High blood sugar
- High cholesterol
- Skin problems
- Heart problems
We don’t have to tell you that this isn’t good for your overall health. So, if it’s so important, why is fibre lacking from the standard American diet?
The reduction of fibre in processed foods
As with everything, processed foods are the culprit behind the lack of fibre in our foods. One of our favourite TikTok influencers, @trentytok, has done a lot of research into the matter, and brings up some good points: The first is that when the fibre is removed from foods, their shelf life is increased. So, it would make sense that large companies would want to process naturally fibre-rich foods like corn and wheat to produce things like corn puffs and white bread.
Although it’s not great for our health, this seems harmless enough. However, aside from its prebiotic nature, fibre also makes us feel fuller faster. By reducing the fibre content of processed foods, companies have found a way to guarantee that their customers eat more of their products and keep coming back for more.
The solution? Kick the processed stuff… eat more plants instead!
While processed foods are incredibly low in fibre, thankfully, real foods such as nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruits are not.
In fact, you’re better off eating as many different plant foods as you can! Different species of bacteria need different kinds of fibre to help them thrive.
As each plant species has its own unique type of dietary fibre, you can promote the diversity and health of your gut microbiome by simply eating more plants!
Today’s Daily Action
Although the fibre of each plant species supports microbiome diversity in its own way, only around 200 plant species are eaten regularly. Even worse, over 60% of our fibre intake comes from wheat, rice, corn, and potato.
So, to promote a healthy gut microbiome and help your body fight illness and disease, do yourself a favour by eating as many different plants as you possibly can today! Your body will thank you!