Fibre, The Gut & Modern Disease

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The old approach of using a single source fibre supplement (i.e. bran, psyllium) is no longer recommended / considered optimal to improve gut health.

The reason is that – we (in our large intestine) carry many different types / strains of fibre-loving bacteria, & they all have different food preferences. Relying heavily on one type of fibre will encourage an imbalanced population as you overfeed one / some types of microbes, but neglect the rest – so you end up with proliferation of the ‘few’ who love & thrive on all-bran, or psyllium, or inulin, & these crowd out / take over leaving little room for the rest.

It is now believed that diversity of gut bugs plays a key role in preventing diabetes, obesity, & many of the common health issues of today – & that the best way to regain diversity of bowel organisms is to eat a really diverse range of fruit & vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, & other plant fibre sources with diverse polysaccharides (parts of the plant that we cannot digest in the upper GI tract, but that will become food for our microbes in the bowel).

Sadly, the average westerner eats a lot of refined carbs, a lot of sugars & fats, & very little fermentable fibre, with only a few different types of unrefined plants (a token apple or lettuce & tomato on their burger).

This means we are providing copious amounts of simple carbs / sugars to feed the ‘bad guys’, & very little roughage for the good guys in the bowel. As a result, there is precious little fermentation happening in the large intestine, which is one of the absolutely vital keys to good health – fibre is the fermentation material needed by our bowel bugs – they convert complex carbs into SCFA’s (short chain fatty acids), which are potent anti-inflammatory substances & key nutrients for maintaining the health & integrity of the gut lining – among many other things (worth reading up on). 

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When you think about inflammation as the cause / key contributor to almost all modern disease states – it makes really good sense to be feeding our own ‘anti-inflammatory generators’ with diverse fibre, every day, as a priority. It has even been questioned whether just adding a heap of plant fibre to a junk food diet can somewhat mitigate the damage / inflammation caused by the junk in this way…

The less processed the food is, the more likely that it will make it through our stomach & small intestine undigested, which may sound like a bad thing… BUT, it is these undigested foods that become food for our helper-bugs! I.e. raw veg are better for the bugs than cooked, whole grains better than refined flour… we seem to do best on a combination of really unrefined foods & some more refined / easier to digest stuff, but I believe the modern diet is waayy too far towards the ‘easy to digest’ processed end of the spectrum.

If your gut is not super-sensitive / out of whack, do an experiment on yourself by increasing your intake of unprocessed plant foods (making sure to focus on diversity), & see what happens. Go slowly to transition comfortably – increase your intake gradually over time rather than all at once, or you may become bloated, gassy, uncomfortable & possibly constipated as your unprepared gut struggles to deal with the sudden influx of fibre. Over a few days / weeks though, your population of bacterial fibre-munchers should increase hugely & become much more healthy & diverse. Take note of how this effects you – look for changes in regularity / gut symptoms, body composition, mood, brain function, skin, immunity, aches & pains…it’s such an easy experiment with massive potential gains! If there is no way you can tolerate fibrous foods due to severe gut symptoms – look into the SCD (specific carbohydrate diet), as it helps many to get back to a state of gut health where fibre becomes more tolerable.

Where do goodMix products fit in here? 

12705672_954665004602041_4415308818380507873_nBlend11 / NeoBlend- diverse, complex, largely unprocessed & mostly organic plant fibre (in a super-easy, palatable delivery to ensure frequent / daily consumption). Seed microbes (we know less about the microbes carried by seeds / plants than we do about our own gut bugs – but there is a definite possibility that there’s another benefit here – interesting research is happening around seed microbes).

PondWater – more polysaccharides & other goodies found in the grass, algae & aloe vera. Once again easy to use in a green smoothie or just with fresh juices / water / lemon water – no excuses for not getting your daily dose of greens!

BallBags – humans will always want & seek out sweet treats, these balls allow a treat but are full of goodness, providing plenty of good bacteria fodder & a slow release of natural sugars into the blood stream, rather than the typical sugar hit from refined type sweet treats. A great transition for those wishing to cut down on sugar addiction comfortably with minimal stress, & for those who wish to replace a daily vice with a healthier alternative. 

*people following a FODMAP diet may need to exercise a little caution (consume in moderation) with the BallBags & NeoBlend, as the dried fruit can cause issues for some with bloating etc. Blend11 & PondWater should be fine. 

Brad & Jeanie