Fibre - a Powerful Natural Anti-inflammatory
Studies show an association between a higher fibre intake and a decreased incidence of irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease (i.e. Crohn’s & Ulcerative Colitis), cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and colon cancer - to name just a few health conditions. Fibre is a powerful natural anti-inflammatory. Short chain fatty acids are one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory substances in your body - conveniently produced in your own bowel - IF conditions are right. They are a by-product of good gut bacteria breaking down fibre in your bowel, so if you are not eating enough roughage, you will not be generating enough of this potentially life-saving (or at least life-changing) substance. Fibre is what our helpful gut bacteria eat - it is their food source - everything that we can’t digest in our small intestine. Different gut bugs thrive on different types of fibre - so DIVERSITY is key, & REGULAR intake is key (to making your colon a nice hospitable place for loads of good bugs to survive & thrive & pump out plenty of SCFA’s to circulate through our bodies). Is a SCFA deficiency at the root of (or at least significantly contributing to) many of our modern western diseases? I have a strong gut feeling it is…in combination with the following gut imbalancing factors:
- Caesarian birth & lack of breastfeeding (promotes wrong gut bacterial balance from the get-go)
- Overuse of antibiotics for the past 50 years (both in our factory-farmed livestock & directly prescribed for every cough, cold, flu or infection).
- Other pharmaceutical medications (bacteria can be super-sensitive to many of the chemicals we swallow)
- Hyper-sanitation of our environment - “kills 99.9 percent of bacteria on your hands / bench / floor” might sound impressive if you think of bacteria as the enemy…trouble is, most of them are not the enemy. Kids growing up with more exposure to dirt, dust & animals are much healthier. Put down that mop & let the dog inside! Get a garden started & don’t be too fussy about rinsing before you eat the organic veggies - plants & soil have their own microbial populations, dirt has even been called the new superfood!
- Chemicals in our food chain (both agricultural chemicals & artificial preservatives, sweeteners, colours, flavours, thickeners & emulsifiers added to processed foods).
- Overconsumption of sugars & refined carbohydrates (too much food for some of our ‘bad’ gut microbes)
- Stress (there is a massive connection between gut bugs & neurotransmitters - it works both ways too)