What’s so fabulous about fibre?

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We are only just beginning to explore the intricacies of how the food we eat interacts with our bodies and in particular, our gut microbiota (the incredible 100 trillion bacteria that live in our digestive system). Fibre is a vital part of what can be called your ‘way of life’ or your daily normal diet (click here to see my previous post on ‘Which diet is best for me?’). The aim of this article is to share the evidence on the benefits of fibre, where we can get it from and how we can apply this to our everyday. 

The WHY of FIBRE.

Looking into the importance and benefits of fibre will hopefully encourage you to welcome it into your day wherever and however you can.

FIRST BENEFIT: Fibre has hormonal effects.

What is a hormone and how does it relate to fibre?

The word Hormone is Greek for ‘set in motion’. If you imagine a hormone like a parent on a mission, intent on getting things done; hormones are chemicals that travel to certain organs and exert a specific effect in order to make things happen.

An example is the fascinating hormone Insulin which is remarkably designed to allow the body to utilise sugar/glucose from the food we eat to be used as fuel (sugar is essential for our survival, click here to read more on why). Insulin is able to unlock cells, in effect telling the body to absorb this energy source for immediate use or to store it for later.

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How is insulin linked to fibre?

The fibre in your meal adds bulk to your food, which means it takes longer to chew and travel through the body, slowing down the digestive process. This slowing down means that food takes longer to leave the stomach and longer for the digested food to be absorbed into the bloodstream. This results in a delayed release of sugar into the blood and a delayed release of the hormone Insulin.

Why is this so important?

Dr Jason Fung, Canadian kidney specialist describes the action of Insulin similar to the railway guards in Japan called ‘pushers’. The job of these ‘pushers’ is to cram as many people onto the subway trains as they can during peak time. Similarly, Insulin is released by the body after eating highly refined carbohydrates, for example,  to ‘push’ the sugar efficiently into our cells. With the sugar now being taken up by the cells, there can be a sudden drop in blood sugar which if persists in some people can cause feelings of hunger, tiredness, fatigue and dizziness- symptoms of what we may call a ‘sugar crash’.

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Paleo, Keto, Low Carb, High Fat, Atkins…Which one really is the BEST diet for me to achieve Optimum Health?

vegetable salad with wheat bread on the side

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Our default mode is of OPTIMUM HEALTH.

This is how we are designed to be, our lifestyles and environments enhance this or move us away from this baseline.

Like an elastic band, our body is in constant struggle trying to pull us back to what it knows is best for us, often our lifestyle choices tug against this, with each pull adding strain and pressure taking us so far from wellbeing that we can forget what it was like to feel energised and well.

Eventually, our body cannot sustain this resistance, in constant tug of war, the strained elastic band snaps and the body drifts into wearily into disease. This is the sad reality of many diseases such as Type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease to name only two.

I am amazed however at how battle hardy our bodies really are, it takes a great deal to push us over the edge into disease and even then, after all the damage we inflict on our bodies, our inner evolutionary drive is to keep fighting, trying to claw back even just to an in-between place of pseudo-health where it tries to adapt to our lifestyles and tries to keep us going.

What has astounded me, even more, is how much we can do with simple food choices to help heal our body and pick ourselves up again to return to what we know is inherently where we belong, in Optimum Health.

I welcome you to join me on my journey back there.

So where do we start?

With so many diet books on the market all touting to be the best for us; how do we know which diet and celebrity to buy and follow?

I have had a long fascination with how food is intricately linked to our experience of the world and the quality of our life.

The more we study food and its effects on the body, the more we are realising how the food we consume can have direct effects on general wellbeing and health.

What I am reading and discovering about nutritional science is mind-blowing. I think the biggest light-bulb moment for me was realising that despite all the new claims that the current fashionable diet can make you slim and healthy in 21 days…there is a fundamental flaw in them all. Read More